The rumor on the street is Verizon Wireless will start carrying the iPhone in early 2011. While that has yet to be confirmed, it appears that AT&T, the current exclusive provider of the iPhone, is preparing for Verizon to enter the market.
Typically mobile phone providers lock you into their service for 2 years when you take advantage of their free phone offers, but that is not the case with the iPhone. When I purchased the iPhone and set up my AT&T coverage, I was never locked into AT&T’s service. This makes it easy for current AT&T iPhone customers like myself to make the switch to Verizon. With millions of iPhone users and many complaining about dropped calls, it could put a small dent into the country’s largest telecommunications provider.
Just yesterday, I received a direct mailer from AT&T. The offer was for a free Samsung Strive multimedia phone. According to the mailer this is “NOT a phone we would normally offer for FREE.” And to sweeten the deal, AT&T makes it easy to get the $219.99 FREE phone. You simply call a toll-free number and they mail it. No mail-in rebate required. The hook is you have to sign a 2-year contract with AT&T.
I never remember receiving any type of direct mail, email, statement stuffer, etc. offering me a FREE phone from AT&T, and I have been a customer for more than 2 years. Plus the focus on the fact that this was a multimedia phone worth $219.99, which is slightly higher than the iPhone, immediately leads me to believe AT&T is beginning to unleash its marketing weapons to keep it’s current iPhone customers.