It’s a pain to change mobile devices and carriers. Thankfully over the years many wireless providers have made the process go more smoothly by porting address books in their retail stores. But Apple has gone the extra mile allowing their devices to seamlessly work with most of the existing data from previous phones. In other words upgrading from an iPhone to an iPhone 3G to a 3GS and 4G has been a fairly straightforward task. Sure you have to enter some WiFi passwords and some other minor settings but that is far better than starting from scratch.
What this means is that in a perfect world, an AT&T iPhone user can change over to Verizon without much effort or energy as iTunes should handle all the details.
Of course users will need a new phone as AT&T and Verizon use different wireless technology but at least one of the greatest barriers to churn has now evaporated because the device maker deals with all the nasty details of keeping devices in sync.
Obviously Google too has incredible integration between its cloud-based services and Android phones so this is not an exclusively Apple benefit.
What this means to wireless carriers is the competitive landscape is getting more difficult to navigate as differentiating based on device won’t save you from having a substandard network. In fact 2011 will be the year where network quality – especially for AT&T and Verizon will be more important than ever.
This Feb 2-4, 2011 (19 days from today) you’ll want to be in Miami, FL for ITEXPO East 2011 as three collocated wireless events will each be worth the trip – all four in one location make it a must-attend. There is 4G Wireless Evolution, M2M Evolution and Super WiFi Summit.
I hope to see you there.