When Apple introduced the iPhone, it changed the mobile landscape in a big way, but while many customers may claim that the phone changed their lives, it did the same for carrier AT&T. As Forbes reports, the once AT&T-exclusive Apple smartphone completely changed the company and forced it to adapt to a booming market that it wasn’t prepared for.
“It changed our capital allocation. It changed how we thought about spectrum. It changed how we thought about engineering and designing networks,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told Forbes, “Suddenly you go from thinking that 40,000 cell sites are sufficient to thinking it’s going to have to be multiples of that.”
Currently, roughly two-thirds of AT&T’s contracted customers own smartphones. Of that number, nearly 50% use own iPhones. By comparison, around half of Verizon’s active contracts include smartphones, and just 20% of those customers have Apple hardware in their pockets. These figures are pretty good evidence that the years of iPhone exclusivity have been good to AT&T. And while the smartphone surge has, at times, had negative effects on its service, customers appear to be sticking around… at least for now.