A Verizon iPhone: Losers

AT&T Mobility: AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De la Vega has said repeatedly that losing iPhone exclusivity won't dent wireless earnings. The company argues that many iPhone customers are "sticky," and that enterprise users who get a discount and those in family plans will be reluctant to break their contract just because Verizon gets the iPhone. "While there will be a group of iPhone users who switch, many subscribers are locked to AT&T by family plans or corporate discounts, and many others are--gasp!--rather happy with the carrier," wrote Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart. Gartenberg said a Verizon iPhone wouldn't totally eliminate a market for the iPhone at AT&T.

Still, AT&T would likely take a hit in the form of churn if Verizon landed the iPhone. Entner said that without exclusivity over the iPhone, AT&T could potentially lose a significant growth engine. Jackson said it is "hard to envision a scenario where you get wholesale migration of AT&T subscribers," but that with a Verizon iPhone, "the iPhone playing field is now even." Additionally, Jackson said that since Verizon has a stronger Android lineup than AT&T, Verizon would have a one-two punch AT&T would not be able to match.   

Motorola: Motorola (NYSE:MOT) stands to lose the most of any individual handset maker, analysts said. The company has invested its smartphone business in Android, and unlike other handset vendors, Motorola has largely bet the farm on Android rather than banking on multiple platforms. The company has received strong marketing support from Verizon for the Droid franchise. Greengart said Motorola "will be hit the hardest" because of that. The company will no longer have the premier device at Verizon and will have to compete for marketing attention. "They have the most to lose because they have the signature phone at Verizon," Burden said.

"It's almost like opportunity loss for Motorola," Jackson said. "There will have to be a response on Motorola's part."

However, while Motorola will likely take a hit, the marketing it has received from Verizon might insulate it from too much damage. Additionally, as Gartenberg points out, Motorola also has Android phones on other carriers. "Verizon doesn't want Motorola to get hurt on this really," Jackson added. "Droid is strategic to Verizon and central to Motorola. It's a marketing balancing act."  

Other Android phone makers (HTC, Samsung, LG): The smaller handset makers (at least in terms of their device share at Verizon) will also take a beating. As Greengart notes, these companies have had their run of Verizon. However, iPhone competition will squeeze them for attention not only from consumers but from Verizon itself. The smaller companies also do not benefit from the marketing push Motorola has received. HTC, Samsung and LG are all betting on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, but right now the platform's success is hardly a given.

A Verizon iPhone: Losers