Apple iPhone 5: AT&T Move Could Push Customers to Verizon

There’s a lot of speculation at the moment about the Apple iPhone 5 being pushed back to the fall instead of being released in the summer as expected. We recently wrote about how both AT&T and Verizon having the iPhone 5 will impact Sprint, but strangely enough it looks almost as though AT&T is pushing customers towards Verizon’s version, when it finally appears.

Yesterday we told about a survey in which iPhone 4 customers on both AT&T and Verizon were asked about performance and satisfaction, and Verizon’s amount of dropped calls were significantly lower than the amount for AT&T users. Verizon iPhone customers were also slightly more satisfied than those on AT&T. Bearing that in mind you might imagine that AT&T would be doing everything it can to stop customers jumping ship to Verizon when the next iPhone arrives. However, what does AT&T actually do? It puts up the price of an early upgrade to an iPhone by an extra $50.

We told about this extra upgrade charge, for those not eligible for fully-discounted 2-year contract prices from AT&T, two days ago when it was first announced. On reflection it seems to be a very strange move for AT&T to do this if it wants to get its share of iPhone customers, as the extra charge will also apply to those wanting to upgrade to an iPhone 5. An AT&T spokesman said, “Only customers who are not yet upgrade eligible or who do not want to sign a contract are impacted,” according to BGR. However, as Allen Tsai over on Mobiledia points out, AT&T is hoping to woo more customers to its network with the iPhone 5 and is obviously hoping the extra charge will pay them well but may not have reckoned on the impact of Verizon also having the new iPhone.

Over on Beatweek a report about this rather odd move from AT&T calls it “self-defeating” and like us feels it could prompt more AT&T customers to move their business to Verizon instead as it makes moving to another carrier a more “viable option.” The article also goes into the math on this, looks into all the existing options and also the possibility of T-Mobile carrying the iPhone 5 so if you want to find out more about it head to the Beatweek link above.

All in all the extra upgrade payment from AT&T doesn’t seem like a wise move at all and if Verizon doesn’t make any odd changes in much the same way, it could reap benefits from AT&T’s bid to make some extra money. We’re really interested to know what you think about this. Are you an existing AT&T customer who might now be tempted to move to Verizon for the iPhone 5? Let us know with your comments.