How an LTE iPhone could lead to an AT&T exodus

LTE iPhone Hurts AT&T

AT&T (T) had better hope that consumers like its LTE network better than they like its FaceTime policiesAllThingsD reports that Jefferies & Co. analyst Thomas Seitz sent a note to investors Friday describing how AT&T could lose a significant number of iPhone users to rival Verizon (VZ) due to the size and quality of its LTE network. 

The numbers Seitz lays out are stark: Verizon’s LTE network currently has 203 million POPs, more than all other American wireless carriers combined. Combine this with Verizon’s traditionally high ratings for network quality, and it’s easy to see how Verizon could easily drag some iPhone users over from AT&T as long as its network holds up. Seitz says that while he doesn’t expect that Verizon’s large LTE network will decimate AT&T’s iPhone user share immediately, it could give Verizon a long-term advantage that pay dividends in terms of customer loyalty.

“We believe this network advantage could lead to a share shift towards Verizon, primarily at AT&T’s expense,” he writes.

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