Sprint Could Sell Six Million iPhones in 2012
With Sprint reportedly set to join Verizon and AT&T as Apple’s third carrier partner in the U.S. this fall, Apple is poised to sell more iPhones than ever before. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says a Sprint deal like this could raise iPhone sales growth from 30 percent to 37 percent in calendar year 2012.
Using some back-of-the-napkin math and iPhone sales at Verizon as a baseline, Munster figures Apple could sell an additional six million iPhones in 2012 via Sprint.
“We believe in the first two quarters, Verizon sold 4.6 million iPhones,” Munster said in a note to clients. “We are modeling for Verizon to sell 12 million iPhones in the first year of having the iPhone. In other words, we expect 11 percent of phones sold at Verizon will be iPhones (~CY11). If 11 percent of Sprint’s phones sold in CY12 were iPhones, that would add ~6 million iPhones to our estimate, increasing our overall CY12 iPhone unit estimate by 5 percent, from 111 million to 117 million.”
That’s if the iPhone does show up at Sprint this fall; at this point the consensus is that it’s likely.
As Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair explains, it’s been widely thought that once AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity deal with Apple expired and Verizon began selling the device, Sprint would follow with its own CDMA iPhone offering.
“It does appear that a 2011 launch of the iPhone 5 at Sprint will actually happen,” Blair told AllThingsD. “The key is the company’s relatively recent support of CDMA at Verizon. So now that the company is supporting both GSM and CDMA and no longer has an exclusive deal with AT&T, there is no barrier to adding Sprint as a distribution channel, and addressing Sprint’s 50-plus million subscriber base would provide a nice boost to quarterly shipments. My view is that iPhone availability at the carrier is likely to be announced late September when Apple announces the new handset, followed by early October availability. For years, Apple has had a multicarrier strategy in place in nearly every other part of the world outside of the U.S., and now the U.S. is catching up.”