Kevin Tofel of GigaOm and PC Mag's Sacha Segan are having a multi-mode discussion on devices and networks that cross blogs and Twitter tweets. In one rebuttal Segan tweeted "@KevinCTofel I don't see why fixate on the iPhone. Verizon achieved growth in '09-early '10 with Droid."
To which Tofel wrote and I quote:
"The obvious answer to the question of “what drives carrier sales,” either network or devices on offer, is clearly both. If an operator can offer the “complete package” of stellar devices and a superb network (along with marketing to tout the two and solid support as needed), then we have a winner. But devices do vary by carrier, and there are occasional exclusives where a device is only available to one carrier for at least a limited time."
But I think both missed a key factor in why Verizon has the kind of customer base and growth they are seeing and in reality have seen for years. It's called territory and geography. From it's ealiest days Verizon Wireless was able to sew up the lucrative NE USA corridor between Richmond Virginia and Boston. They had the mobile piece as Bell Atlantic and NYNEX and that's where 25 percent of the USA population and big business has been concentrated. Along the way they picked up GTE which just so happened to have Los Angeles and Orange County and a few other pieces in the late 90's and early 2000's. Those pieces just happened to include some of the most driven parts of the country.
So in essence Verizon doesn't grow because of the Android, and their not growing because of their iPhone. They grow simply because their network is where more people are, and it's been less congested and scaled better using CDMA vs. AT&T and T-Mobile's GSM networks. The VZW network had more tower locations because they grew from being the incumbent or via consolidation.
Now though with LTE they are starting to feel some pain, as they are finding some hiccups along the way first. AT&T is waiting, learning and hoping they won't suffer the same teething pains.