The Verizon iPhone was greeted by many analysts as a major-league game changer – the device that could put the AT&T iPhone, and its notoriously spotty service, in a world of hurt. But according to new sales figures from both AT&T and Verizon, the AT&T iPhone has managed to retain its place atop the market. In the second quarter of this year, Verizon reps said the company activated 2.3 million iPhones, shy of the 3.6 million activated by AT&T.
Still, it's worth noting that the playing ground here isn't totally level. "AT&T has an advantage over Verizon in that it sells the previous-generation iPhone 3GS as well as the current iPhone 4," Peter Pachal writes over at PC Mag. "The carrier offers that model at a $49 discount rate (with a standard two-year contract). If customers are willing to buy a refurbished model, that cost drops to an ultra-cheap $9."
Moreover, as Pachal points out, Verizon actually beat AT&T in terms of overall activations. So yes, AT&T is leading in iPhone activations, but Verizon is winning the race: The network added 2.2 million subscribers last quarter, well over the 1.1 million netted by AT&T. Meanwhile, Verizon now counts 106.3 million subscribers, compared to the 98.6 million total subscribers on AT&T.
So what does it all mean? Well, on the one hand, it means that the Verizon iPhone hasn't doomed AT&T sales. (Yet.) Verizon is gobbling up shares of a market that once belonged exclusively to AT&T, and at a particularly bad time – the next iPhone (the iPhone 5, or the iPhone 4S, or whatever the thing is called) will be the first new iPhone to simultaneously launch on both Verizon and AT&T networks. Which could diminish AT&T's iPhone superiority even further.
Last time we checked in on the (as of yet mythical) iPhone 5, the device had reached the final stage of testing, and was already being hauled around by "high level Apple and carrier executives." So said the tech site 9 to 5 Mac, which put the launch date of the iPhone 5 at September of this year. There are also plenty of rumors about possible NFC technology on the iPhone 5, and even a new teardrop shape.