Apple Expected to Add New iPhone Carriers in the US Within a Year

iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G RAM Comparison

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster expects Apple to add new iPhone carriers in the US within a year, thus ending AT&T’s three year exclusive deal in the US.

In another interesting observation, he believes based on the high demand seen for iPhone 3GS, the ads by rivals such as Palm have helped in promoting the iPhone rather than taking away market share from Apple.

The analyst had this to say about Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T in the US:

“We expect Apple to add new iPhone carriers in the U.S. within the next year (likely with a new product launch next summer).

By way of example, for various reasons the company moved from an exclusive relationship with French wireless carrier Orange to a multi-carrier model. In France, the company now enjoys dramatically higher market share (in the 40% range vs. about 15% 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%) deteriorated economics per unit involved in non-exclusive agreements.” 

This seems to be in line with rumors we have heard about Apple working with Verizon on two iPhone-like devices.

In another interesting observation, Gene Muster believes that Apple should thank rivals for the resounding success of iPhone 3GS:

“At the end of the June quarter, Apple was having difficulty keeping the iPhone 3GS in stock; the product seems to have exceeded Apple’s internal expectations.”

According to him, there were two primary reasons for the high demand:

“1) Apple’s App Store has been a huge success (65k+ apps and 1.5b+g downloads), and app developers (like Sirius/XM, ESPN, etc.) are promoting their apps, and meanwhile providing free advertising for the iPhone platform (which spurs more iPhone sales, app downloads, and the cycle continues); 2) The smart phone industry has effectively crowned the iPhone and its App Store the gold standard among touchscreen mobile experiences, and competitors are trying to copy the device and its software. In so doing, the iPhone’s competitors are actually promoting the iPhone, and we believe, driving sales of the device similar to the manner in which competing MP3 players drove sales of the iPod as the gold standard in 2004 by defining themselves in comparison to it.”

Are you happy with AT&T or glad to hear that the iPhone will be available on more US carriers?

[via All Things Digital]