Analyst: Verizon iPhone Deal Still Not Sealed
Apple will likely bring the iPhone to another U.S. carrier in the next year–but that carrier may not be Verizon. While the company is said to be a front-runner for the device, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu says it hasn’t yet finalized the deal that will add it to its handset lineup.
“From our understanding, the Verizon negotiations are not finalized with important details still being ironed out, including technology and economics,” Wu said in a note to clients this morning. “We think it is premature to rule out T-Mobile or Sprint.”
Or both of them, together. As Wu notes, adding T-Mobile and Sprint as additional carriers would almost be like adding Verizon (VZ). Together, Sprint (S) and T-Mobile have about 82 million subscribers. Verizon has 93 million subscribers.
Of course, bringing Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone to Verizon would serve another purpose as well–striking a blow against Google’s (GOOG) Android, which has claimed the carrier as its home turf. “We believe the argument for Apple to pursue Verizon sooner than later is to address the growing presence of Android,” says Wu. “What better way to do that than where Android has seen the majority of its success?”
In any event, Wu seems certain that AT&T (T) will not be the only iPhone carrier in the States next year. “From our checks with industry and supply chain sources and a recent SEC 10-Q filing by AT&T mentioning that exclusivity with ‘a number of attractive handsets’ could end, we have conviction that the iPhone could likely finally be at another carrier besides AT&T here in the U.S. in 2011 and potentially at Verizon in 2011 or 2012.”