Analysts Go Out on Limb, Predict Verizon iPhone Will Be Big for Apple
Verizon’s announcement of the forthcoming debut of Apple’s iPhone on its network this morning was met with a flurry of analyst notes all saying exactly the same thing: 2011 is going to be a very, very strong year for the iPhone.
After all, the CDMA iPhone Apple’s built for Verizon promises to expand the company’s addressable market domestically and abroad. The device isn’t exclusive to Verizon, which means Apple’s almost certainly going to pursue additional partnerships with CDMA carries in other parts of the world– China Telecom and SK Telecom, for example.
“We see this as the single biggest lever Apple has to pull in calendar 2011,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who raised his iPhone unit estimates by 2.5 million because of the Verizon deal.
JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz took a similar view, suggesting that the Verizon iPhone could boost Apple’s EPS by at least $1.25 per annum. “For Apple, we believe that this new carrier relationship will be a major catalyst for U.S.-related iPhone sales over the next 18-24 months,” he wrote. “In our view, Verizon’s wireless network offers a higher quality user experience compared to AT&T’s. We expect that this dynamic will drive a significant numbers of subscribers to switch to Verizon, in addition to the adoption rate of the iPhone by existing Verizon subscribers.”
At Standard & Poor’s, Clyde Montevirgen wrote that the deal more than doubles Apple’s U.S. market opportunity and said he expects incremental unit sales of 7 million via Verizon in calendar 2011.
UBS analyst Maynard Um issued this bullish call: “Apple has set itself up for a solid year of iPhone sales. Today’s agreement with Verizon Wireless should provide additional momentum to already strong iPhone unit growth. We also expect the company to launch the iPhone 5 this summer which would serve as another catalyst for this product segment. We currently expect AAPL to ship 67.3mn iPhone units in CY11.”
And finally, over at William Blair, analyst Brian Nugent offered a few observations about the Verizon iPhone’s effects on other industry players (beyond AT&T), specifically Research in Motion and Qualcomm. For RIM, he views it as a clear negative. “While dependence on Verizon has declined significantly in the last year, Verizon still accounts for roughly 10% of RIM’s sales (by our estimate),” he said. “An iPhone at Verizon will further pressure RIM’s market share and net subscriber additions in the United States, and could hurt its average selling prices and gross margin.”
But for Qualcomm, it’s a boon. “Although we view the introduction of the iPhone at Verizon as positive for Qualcomm (which we believe is the baseband provider in the iPhone), given that Qualcomm has over 95% of Verizon baseband share, today’s announcement may not be material to the company in the near term,” he said. “On a longer-term basis, we view today’s announcement as the beginning of a closer working relationship between Apple and Qualcomm that may potentially extend beyond the Verizon handset deal.”
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