updated 09:55 am EST, Wed December 15, 2010
Assumes AT&T loss, other phones holding ground
The addition of the iPhone to Verizon should increase Apple's total US iPhone sales by about 2.5 million next year, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. The number, considered conservative, assumes two factors. The first is a bleed from AT&T, giving Verizon 9 million iPhones versus AT&T's 11, when Munster estimates that AT&T would sell 17.5 million units without competition.
It also assumes that the iPhone will make up a much small portion of Verizon's sales than AT&T's. The latter sold 5.2 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2010, which Munster believes formed about 80 percent of its smartphone sales in the period. By contrast, the predicted 9 million Verizon iPhones for 2011 would represent only 36 percent of a forecast 25 million smartphones for the carrier.
In the broader picture, Munster suggests that 2011 figures will see AT&T fall from an estimated 34 percent (15.6 million) of global iPhone sales in 2010 to 17 percent. At the same time, the market is expected to grow from 46.3 million to 63 million. Early 2012 calculations give Apple 78.3 million iPhones worldwide, with AT&T and Verizon each selling roughly 14 million, or 18 percent.
Analysts differ considerably on how many iPhones Verizon may be capable of selling. While Barclays' Capital is roughly in agreement with Munster, BMO Capital Markets is assuming 8 million in 2011, and Merrill Lynch is calling for "at least ten million." The launch date of the device could be influential; Stifel Nicolaus' Doug Reid argues that launching in February could add an extra 800,000 units versus starting in March.