Verizon iPhone making moves on AT&T, new tracker

Feb 13, 2011
Finance

It was a Second Coming… for the iPhone, which appeared in a new incarnation last week in Verizon Wireless (VZ) stores, breaking the AT&T (T) monopoly. Hype levels were high, even though the lines were thin. Ron Judd noted in Seattle Times that Verizon’s press release was marked urgent while it was short: “iPhone 4. […]

It was a Second Coming… for the iPhone, which appeared in a new incarnation last week in Verizon Wireless (VZ) stores, breaking the AT&T (T) monopoly.

Hype levels were high, even though the lines were thin.

Ron Judd noted in Seattle Times that Verizon’s press release was marked urgent while it was short: “iPhone 4. Verizon. It begins.”

“Hate to break it to the phone company, but honestly, the ‘It begins’ line really should be saved for actual, monumental events. Like wars. Periods of drought or famine. Breaking of ground on a viaduct replacement. Free chowder at Ivar’s. Or Shark Week on the Discovery Channel,” the columnist said.

Sarcasm and sharks aside, newlyweds Verizon Wireless and Apple (AAPL) had a very good first week.

Verizon planned ahead and offered pre-orders to existing customers as well as giving out hot chocolate to those braving the lines in frigid places, such as Milwaukee.

Chitika, a mobile ad firm, estimated based on traffic on its ad network the ratio of iPhones on AT&T. The proportion on Verizon has reached 4.2 percent already—and growing, according to the Chitika’s iPhone carrier tracker. Hourly updates are available.

Chitika Insights’s Daniel Ruby blogged: “After years of rumors and guesswork, hordes of iPhone fans clamoring for a new network, it’s happened, and predictions of the effects are flying everywhere. Will this kill AT&T? What will happen to all the Android phones on Verizon?

“Will Verizon ever catch AT&T, given the years-long head start? Is AT&T in trouble, or Android?”

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These are the burning questions for our times. Vegas should be setting odds.

Ruby told Eric Slivka at MacRumors he estimates 900,000 Verizon iPhones have been activated so far.

That’s pretty close to the 1 million for the first week projected by RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky.

The analyst also estimated that Verizon will activate up to about 4 million iPhones this quarter, compared with 5 million in AT&T’s first quarter when the iPhone was still a novelty.

Meanwhile, Ma Bell apparently is not rolling over and playing dead. 9to5Mac reports AT&T is offering customers 1,000 free Rollover minutes.

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