This week's announcement that the iPhone was coming to Verizon Wireless had become a not-so-well-kept secret in the weeks and months prior. At the same time, there was one thing that probably surprised a lot of people, especially AT&T customers.
Over the past few years, AT&T customers have remained relatively loyal, largely due to iPhone exclusivity. AT&T has leveraged this advantage, but for too long it was at the expense of fundamentals like its network and customer service.
For months now we've tweeted and written about the looming exodus we expect at AT&T once the exclusivity runs out. (If you're at all skeptical, check this out).
Verizon's customers are the most loyal in the category, and for good reason. The company has consistently invested in its network, its brand and its commitment to customers. It has continually grown its customer base organically, had the lowest retention in the category and had the highest prices. All without the iPhone and for the most part, without the most competitive lineup of handsets and other devices.
For way too long the wireless industry has taken a customer-acquisition first and customer management second approach. Only recently has this begun to change and Verizon and Sprint have been at the forefront, at least in the U.S.
So the news Monday that was probably the most surprising to people, especially AT&T customers, is that the iPhone on Verizon's network is going to be exclusive, at least for the first while, to its customers. Yes, that's right, the iPhone is available starting February 3, exclusively to Verizon Wireless Customers. Everyone else has to wait until February 10.
How refreshing. Customers first. That is why, among other reasons, Verizon Wireless is far and away the leader in its category.