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Multiple US iPhone carriers as soon as 2010?

updated 03:20 pm EDT, Mon August 31, 2009

Piper on US iPhones

The iPhone could be sold through multiple American carriers as soon as next year, suggests Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster. The analyst notes that in France, where Orange was once the exclusive iPhone carrier, Apple now enjoys a "dramatically" higher marketshare as compared to countries where exclusives remain, namely the US. "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," writes Munster in a new investor note.

All this may lend Apple strong incentive to adopt multiple American carriers in 2010, the first year the company will have an opportunity to act outside of its partnership with AT&T. Munster argues that a second carrier, such as Verizon, would likely be introduced alongside a new iPhone model next summer. Yet to be addressed is the issue of network compatibility, as Verizon uses a CDMA/EVDO network, and current iPhone models support only GSM, EDGE and HSPA.

Apple could switch to LTE (4G) technology, which both AT&T and Verizon plan to support. LTE networks are still under construction however, and so extra receivers would be needed to ensure backwards compatibility. Verizon is rumored to be accelerating 4G deployment with the iPhone in mind.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    CDMA

    is a dead-end, Apple won't develop a new handset for a technology with no longterm future. So unless an iPhone 4G comes around next year people will have only T-mobile to choose from.

  1. Timon

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Don't bet the farm on it

    I think Apple would however develop a LTE/CDMA version and likely already has. Remember Qualcomm has been working on this for several years. LG has tested it so it's right around the corner.

    Now will Apple release one? Only Apple knows but there is nothing technical stopping them.

  1. whackjob

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    very possible

    Agreed, nothing technical stopping them plus anything to give AT&T a kick in the nuts.

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    Competition...

    is what we need. AT&T has no incentive right now to make the iPhone experience better. Throw in a little competition and they better get on the ball or they will find themselves on the short end of the stick.

  1. G4_Kessel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Verizon?

    This topic reminds me... There have been some rumblings about the iPhone on Verizon. As much as I would love to see that happen, there is one big problem. Media and Content. Verizon wants to lock customers on Vcast. It's also no secret that Verizon intentionally cripples the hardware to make it difficult to get your own content on the devise without paying. How does something like iTunes fit into a situation like that?

  1. Tanker10a

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Tablet

    I am thinking that the Tablet may be part of the mix as a result when it comes to downloading eBooks?! Any thoughts?

  1. sammaffei

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Verizon is smarter than..

    ..you think. Apple went with AT&T to get their foot in the door. Verizon was smart to wait it out, see how the iPhone did, and let AT&T absorb the upfront cost of new hardware. Now, when Verizon jumps on the bandwagon, the unit cost for the device will be much cheaper for them.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    Re: CDMA

    is a dead-end, Apple won't develop a new handset for a technology with no longterm future.

    Apple will do what helps them in the long run. If supporting CDMA gets them a ton of money, market, and helps push ATT off the cliff, they'll do it (assuming the contracts are there). If China, for example, was just CDMA right now, you really think Apple would say "Nah, we'll forgo that entire market. CDMA is dead!"?

    And how much effort and cost do you really think there is in producing a CDMA phone? Everyone here keeps making it sound like Apple would be spending another 500 million to produce a CDMA phone, and yet other 'struggling' phone vendors do it all the time.

    So unless an iPhone 4G comes around next year people will have only T-mobile to choose from.

    Well, since 4G is many years away from real coverage, I wouldn't hold my breath (although the Mac fans love buying technology that's 3 years from being useful and then crowing how Apple was well ahead of the curve, even though by then they would have replaced their iPhones with new ones anyway so it didn't matter).

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