Posted by: Will | August 31, 2009

Apple Expected to Offer iPhone on New U.S. Carriers Within a year

In an investors report, Gene Munster, senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray, takes on 14 “unanswered questions” that surround Apple. These questions concern the future of Apple’s agreement with AT&T and Apple’s history with other wireless carriers around the world, supporting only one in each country. These questions also concern the future of iTunes, and the marketplace.

“For various reasons the company moved from an exclusive relationship with French wireless carrier Orange to a multi-carrier model,” Munster said. “In France, the company now enjoys dramatically higher market share (in the 40 percent range vs. about 15 percent in ROW) than in countries with exclusive carrier agreements (such as AT&T in the U.S. where the iPhone has market share in the mid-teens). We believe Apple is seeing the increased unit sell-through more than offset the slightly (~10 percent) deteriorated economics per unit involved in non-exclusive agreements.”

With the iPhone 3GS running low on stock because of demand,  The Piper Jaffray report states that the new iteration of the iPhone “seems to have exceeded Apple’s internal expectations.” Additionally, Munster does not believe Apple will offer another model below the $99 iPhone 3G with a cheap, mass-market device. Noting that $10 basic phone models dominate markets like India, he said Apple would likely pass on that segment of the market.

Many believe that Apple may abandon the AT&T only deal, being currently iPhone sales “mid-teens” market share in the US. Others say that Apple will look towards Verizon in the future, since Verizon is currently setting up their own 4G network, and plans for a launch of early 2010.

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