More than a quarter of iPhones in the U.S. do not use AT&T, further clouding the importance of AT&T’s ‘exclusive’ distribution of Apple’s popular touchscreen cell phone, according to a Monday report.
Of 1.45 million iPhones has described as “missing in action,” around 480,000 are thought to be part of AT&T’s inventory. However, 1 million unaccounted iPhones — or 27 percent — are “unlocked” and being used on other mobile networks, Bernstein Research Toni Sacconaghi said.
Sacconoghi called the figure “stunning,” a step up from Apple’s previous talk of “significant” numbers of unlocked iPhones, according to a Reuters report.
The growing number of unlocked iPhones could weigh heavily on Apple, costing it $500 million in lost profits. However, the carrier must walk a tighrope between protecting its cut from carriers and hurting iPhone sales.
Wednesday, Apple holds in annual shareholders meeting.