According to a recent survey conducted by Rubicon Consulting, 47% of iPhone users switched wireless carriers to AT&T to gain access to the iPhone. That equates to 1.4 million new accounts for AT&T, which possibly would not be with them if not for the iPhone. That’s a nice weapon to have in your arsenal (I wonder how many of those new customers are former disgruntled Sprint customers). Another encouraging metric for AT&T is the incremental revenue generated by existing AT&T customer who upgraded to an iPhone plan, which according to Rubicon’s survey results, equates to $19/month. If you believe Rubicon’s math, AT&T’s 3 million iPhone customers now contribute an additional $2 billion/year for AT&T (although a hefty sum of that figure is revenue shared with Apple).
The iPhone experiment has proven that a wireless device, and its manufacturer, can move markets. Prior to the iPhone, the prevailing thought was wireless carriers needed to heavily subsidize devices, or consumers would not adopt them. So much for that line of thinking. Make the right device with the right features and millions will line up, regardless of carrier and subsidy. Look for a string of competitors to try to imitate this enviable success.