A new poll shows that the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone, marketed through AT&T (NYSE: T) Wireless, could take more business from competing cell service providers than was previously believed. According to a survey in May of about 11,000 cellphone users by M:Metrics Inc, two-thirds of the people interesting in buying the phone are not AT&T customers.
Most vulnerable of the competition is T-Mobile, a units of Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT). Almost 13% of its customers expressed strong interest in the phone. DT recently expressed confidence in its US unit, which ranks fourth in the US, saying it would grow faster than the US market over the next few years. Well, maybe not.
About 8% of Sprint (NYSE: S) customers expressed interest. That would be bad news for the company which has been struggling in competition with AT&T and Verizon Wireless due to trouble integrating NexTel and poor customer service.
If the iPhone can steal anywhere the number of customers that the survey indicates, it will be a huge benefit for AT&T, which has been losing landline consumers to VoIP and needs it cell arm to help make up the revenue shortfall.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 247 Wall St.