T-Mobile’s John Legere, ever the Un-CEO, has thrown yet another tantrum in the wake of rumors suggesting the new Amazon phone may be an AT&T exclusive. Because he’s crazy. But he’s also right, as such exclusive deals hurt both the consumer and the industry.
The WSJ broke the news this morning that the Amazon phone, which is widely expected to be announced tomorrow, will only be available on AT&T. As the CEO of the other big GSM carrier in the States, Legere would know if his carrier were getting the phone. His lengthy rant seemingly confirms the WSJ’s report: If you want the Amazon phone, you’re going to have to use AT&T.
The iPhone launched on AT&T. The Lumia 900 launched on AT&T and the Facebook phone launched on AT&T. Only one of those exclusive deals worked out, but even the iPhone took some time to become a hit. And the iPhone didn’t see explosive growth until Apple’s deal with AT&T ended.
Exclusive phone deals limit consumer choice. Likewise, it limits the market of a phone. As I wrote prior to the Lumia 900’s launch, the only downside to the phone was that it was exclusive to AT&T. At the time, in early 2012, AT&T was still struggling to build out its network and often saw horrible connectivity, especially in urban areas. The network has improved since then, but as a happy, overpaying Verizon subscriber, I’m not willing to switch carriers for any phone — including the Amazon phone.
Legere tweets that he hopes the Amazon phone will last longer than the Facebook phone. But I think that’s a joke. At this point I don’t think he really wishes Amazon any goodwill.