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ATT and “Hot” Restaurants Are Alike

10/25/2010

If the conventional wisdom is that AT&T wireless blows, why is it beating Verizon Wireless — supposedly the best carrier of them all — in subscriber growth every quarter?

Verizon announced last Thursday that it signed up 997,000 net new subscribers in Q3. But that’s less than half of the 2.6 million net wireless subscribers that AT&T signed up last quarter, driven by Apple’s new iPhone 4.

Whaaaat? (as TV’s Craig Ferguson is famous for saying), all those Verizon Droids aren’t pulling in millions of new subscribers from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile?

Of course, this isn’t the only metric worth looking at — Verizon leads in other categories. And the tables could certainly turn if/when Verizon starts selling the iPhone — reportedly happening early next year. But it still says that for whatever reason — mostly the iPhone, we think — AT&T is still able to sign up millions of new subscribers, and thousands more than Verizon, despite its supposed inferiority (whether real or perceived).

This is analogous to the restaurant serving unbelievable TexMex served by surly wait staff compared to lovingly prepared lamb at a middle eastern hole in the wall with no other customers. I’d much rather have better product with average service than average product with excellent service.

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