With the much-heralded release of the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone coming up on June 29, more details are surfacing about the device itself and the interest level from consumers.
In addition to news from Apple that the device will maintain a longer-than-expected battery life, AT&T's (NYSE:T) new CEO, Randall Stephenson, asserted on Tuesday that approximately 40% of the more than 1 million consumers who have registered an interest in the iPhone do not currently subscribe to AT&T -- the iPhone's exclusive U.S. provider. That statement follows mobile market research firm M:Metrics' April study reporting that 19 million Americans have a "strong interest" in purchasing the iPhone.
Even the seemingly high $500 to $600 price tag and the requirement to use AT&T don't appear to be strong deterrents for consumers. The M:Metrics survey found that 67% of those who were most inclined to purchase an iPhone are currently subscribers of competing carriers.
With 62.2 million subscribers, AT&T has a slight edge over Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE:VOD) -- as the largest U.S. wireless carrier. But if the iPhone is successful at luring customers away from Verizon -- which has 60.7 million users -- and other major carriers such as Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE:DT) T-Mobile, AT&T could widen its lead at the painful expense of its competitors.
If it does, it will be picking up exactly the type of customers that wireless providers covet -- big spenders who won't shy away from paying for premium services. So even a moderate level of success should be able to move the needle in AT&T's numbers by early next year.
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Fool contributor Dave Mock moves the needle and tips the scale on a daily basis. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. He is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Vodafone is an Inside Value recommendation. Short and to the point, the Fool's disclosure policy believes less is more.