Tired: Speculating About Verizon iPhone. Wired: Speculating About Verizon iPhone Sales.
Verizon Wireless will hold an event in New York tomorrow where, as we first reported here, it will announce the availability of Apple’s iPhone on its network. And when it does, it will halt once and for all the near-pathological Verizon iPhone speculation that preceded it.
But only because those who speculated about the existence of a Verizon iPhone have been struck by a new monomania: Speculating about first-year Verizon iPhone sales numbers.
Indeed, the sales estimates are already rolling out, with the consensus so far hovering between nine million and 12 milion.
“Some think 10 million is possible in the calendar year,” Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair told me. “And I think it’s a reasonable assumption–not just because of what we’ve seen on AT&T but because you have three years of pent-up demand from users who are loyal to the Verizon network because of its coverage and reliability.”
Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall agrees, though he’s betting on sales hitting the top end of the range I mentioned.
“The iPhone on Verizon will sell 12 million units in calendar 2011 assuming there’s a ramp-up similar to the one AT&T experienced in 2007-2008 (i.e., 5 percent penetration of the postpaid subscriber base within five quarters of launch),” he told me, adding that AT&T will see a material decline in its iPhone sales as a result.
Taking a more conservative view of the iPhone’s prospects on Verizon is Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who expects Verizon to activate roughly 25 million smartphones in calendar 2011, of which nine million will be iPhones.
Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe too is betting on that nine-million figure, and of those he expects approximately 500,000 to one million to be purchased by AT&T switchers. Said Ratcliffe, “We don’t believe that the addition of a Verizon iPhone will be a seismic event in the wireless competitive environment, although we do expect it to result in a modest spike in AT&T churn, as customers who love their iPhones but have become unhappy with AT&T’s network take advantage of the alternative.”