Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster has a spotty history of prediction, but we think his latest pronouncement is probably right: if Verizon’s the next network that gets the iPhone, it will only be at AT&T’s expense.
According to Munster, he thinks that Verizon becoming a new vendor for the iPhone will only add roughly 2.5 million new Apple handsets to the US market. That’s only about 14%. Almost everyone who wants an iPhone already has one, but with customers clamoring to switch from AT&T’s network — recently voted by Consumer Affairs as the worst network in the country — Verizon could pick up a lot of new iPhone business… even if the iPhone itself doesn’t radically increase its market share.
Over in Europe, the end of carrier exclusivity deals for the iPhone has seen a growth rate at about one to one, with previously exclusive carriers not seeing much of a slowing of sales. The situation in those cases was different, though: not only did many European carriers have a few shorter window of exclusivity than AT&T did, but those exclusive carriers do not appear to have been nearly as reviled as Ma Bell.
Apple may not have as much to gain from Verizon getting the iPhone as it’s widely been thought, but one thing’s for sure: AT&T’s got a lot to fear. You can’t screw over your customers for years and not expect them to jump ship the second someone else starts teasing them with the same carrot.