Everyone who owns an iPhone knows that having the phone means being stuck with AT&T as your carrier. As a matter of fact, many iPhone owners, while thrilled with their actual phone, often list having to use AT&T as one of their main issues. But in a new report, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster takes on the issue and even suggests that by summer 2010, Apple will add new carriers in the United States.
The report, a note to investors, took on fourteen "unanswered questions." In it, Munster talked about how Apple went from a single carrier to a multi-carrier model in France, suggesting it had a direct relationship with an increase in market shares,
"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 percent range vs. about 15 percent 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 percent) deteriorated economics per unit involved in non-exclusive agreements."
There have been many rumors about where Apple will turn, should it abandon its exclusivity with AT&T. Verizon president Denny Strigle has been speaking favorably of the iPhone and rumor has it Verizon is working to launch a new 4G network by early 2010. AT&T is also supposedly trying to negotiate with Apple, hoping the company will keep them as the exclusive iPhone carrier until 2011.
In the report, Munster also mentioned how unhappy Apple is with video and the iTunes store and suggests the company will eventually offer a monthly subscription of about $30-40 that allows users to have unlimited access to cable and network television content.