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Twitter Study Suggests Verizon iPhone Won't Be a Bloodbath for AT&T, Droid [Exclusive]

The iPhone is coming to Verizon, and everyone, from analysts to Jon Stewart, is already sounding the death knell on AT&T. But how are actual consumers reacting to the news? Who is planning to switch from AT&T to Verizon? And how many are planning to stay?

To find out, we sought help from social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, makers of the Harvard-developed public opinion platform ForSight, which uses a human-assisted algorithm to gauge opinion on Facebook and Twitter in real-time. During the announcement, Crimson analyzed about 78,000 tweets related to the news, from AT&T and Verizon subscribers to iPhone and Droid users. Here's what they found.

Though many criticize AT&T's network, Verizon's announcement wasn't all bad news for the carrier. Around 24% of opinion analyzed remained positive about AT&T. What's more, around 18% said they would waiting to make a decision on the Verizon iPhone, either because they were unsure about the device (5%) or because they were going to hold off until the iPhone 5 (13%). Only 7% of tweets indicated users were choosing to stay with AT&T, but an additional 5% believed the network would improve because the Verizon iPhone might free up data bandwidth.

For Verizon, the news was met with a little more excitement. Around 40% of public opinion was positive for the carrier, with 20% of tweets indicating users that have already decided to buy the iPhone, and 5% specifically indicating they plan to switch carriers for the iPhone on Verizon. Additionally, around 11% of tweets analyzed were "tech positive," which according to Crimson, consisted mostly of positive feedback on the Verizon iPhone's mobile hotspot feature.

Still, not all reaction was positive—around 25% of opinion was negative toward the announcement, with 16% "tech negative." Crimson says these latter reactions were mostly concerns that Verizon would not be able to handle the huge increase of users, or that the iPhone would still operate on the 3G network as opposed to 4G.

And what about Google, the forgotten player in this kerfuffle between Verizon and AT&T? Would Android sales slow once the iPhone ends its control of the market? According to Crimson's analysis, around 15% of Droid users want the Verizon iPhone but are locked into a contract with a Droid device. Another 12% said they are absolutely switching from a Droid to a Verizon iPhone, while 18% said they were undecided.


But Google did receive some good news: A whopping 55% of tweets analyzed indicated they were sticking with a Droid, regardless of the announcement.

Take that, Apple.