Apple’s (AAPL) surprise $200 iPhone price cut has led to a “significant uptake” in business for exclusive carrier AT&T (T), VP Ralph de la Vega said today. In a chat with Goldman Sachs wireless analyst Jason Armstrong, de la Vega said Steve Jobs’ move “caused a bit of a stir” and that the carrier would have typically waited a bit longer into the holiday season before slashing prices. (More evidence that Apple’s price cut was an unplanned emergency move to goose sales and reduce inventory.)
Update: Sprint Nextel CEO Gary Forsee acknowledged a spike in Sprint subscribers leaving for AT&T after the price cut. But Forsee says the exodus was less than during the iPhone’s initial launch in late June and that the rate of subscribers leaving the carrier has returned to normal levels. (No clarification if AT&T’s sales uptick was a short-term spike or sustained growth. And are those subscribers coming from other carriers or are they existing AT&T customers upgrading their phones?)
Also, an amusing “dumb pipe” acknowledgment from de la Vega that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to hear from a telco executive: the iPhone’s wi-fi feature has “liberated” iPhone users. Yes, it has liberated them — from AT&T’s pokey “EDGE” wireless data network. Ouch!