Daniel Eran Dilger
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Apple defends AT&T, downplays talk of multi-carrier inevitability

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

Despite a howl of complaints and even lawsuits filed by some disgruntled iPhone users, Apple reiterated that it supports AT&T as a great mobile partner, despite rumored moves to expand its iPhone partnerships in the U.S.

Apple defends AT&T, downplays talk of multi-carrier inevitability

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During Monday’s quarterly earnings conference call, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook also downplayed assumptions that Apple would inevitably embrace a multi-carrier business strategy in all countries where the iPhone is available. He said so far Apple has selected countries where the company believes a multi-carrier system would inevitably happen anyhow.

“I don’t want to imply that would happen in every market or that we are headed that way in every market,” Cook said.

Earlier in the call, analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray inquired about the bad press AT&T has received as of late. “Can you remind us the benefits of sticking with a single carrier in the U.S.?” he asked.

In response, Cook avoided any criticism of its U.S. partner.

“First of all, AT&T is a great partner,” Cook said. “We’ve been working with them since well before we announced the first iPhone. It’s important to note they have more mobile broadband usage than any carrier in the world.”

“We think iPhone customers are having a great experience from the research we’ve done,” Cook added.

“AT&T has acknowledged they’re having a few issues in a few cities and they’re making plans to address these. We’ve reviewed these plans and we’re confident they’ll make significant progress towards fixing them.”

AT&T’s exclusive mobile partnership with Apple is expected to end this year, with many observers expecting the company to begin working with Verizon Wireless and/or perhaps T-Mobile, either of which would require new iPhone hardware designed for those company’s mobile networks.

AT&T itself has regularly announced mobile infrastructure progress and future plans to improve and expand its mobile network in the US in order to better support new and existing iPhone users. It also plans to eventually roll out its 3G MicroCell appliance which will allow customers to set up their own local 3G hotspots by using their existing Internet access, and has met competitive price cuts set by rivals.

  • http://bkpfd.org qka

    Countries with advanced wireless telephone systems – every carrier uses GSM.

    Countries with backwards wireless telephone systems – every carrier uses a different technology.

    Apple is hesitant to deal with backwards markets.

  • pa

    I wish AT&T would forget about the Microcell nonsense and let people use wifi instead. By putting all phone calls on voip and offering just a data plan, they will offload a lot of their bandwidth to wifi when people are at home or at work or at a coffee shop. It’s like having Microcells at everywhere wifi is available. So instead they can focus on implementing 4G faster and being in a position to take a lot of smartphone customers from other cell providers.

  • gctwnl

    Using T-mobile in The Netherlands hurts Apple’s iPhone as T-mobile has worse coverage than the local big 2: KPN and Vodaphone. KPN’s chairman seems to have some irrational hatred against the iPhone (stating that it would be a failure after they could not hammer out a deal), but Vodaphone would love to carry the iPhone here. They already offer ‘under-the-water’ support for people who buy carrier-free iPhones in Belgium (where that coupling is forbidden by law).

    At this point in the US, AT&T is free to offer Android/etc smartphones, but Apple is not free to offer the iPhone to Verizon/T-mobile/etc. The advantage of the AT&T exclusivity deal was enormous for both sides, but has run its course, certainly for Apple who does not need AT&T as much anymore to gain a foothold.