Verizon iPhone expected to cannibalize AT&T sales
A Piper Jaffray analyst confirms what everyone already knows: Pent up demand for a Verizon iPhone (yes, finally!) is likely to cannibalize AT&T sales.
According to Gene Munster, the launch of a long-awaited Verizon iPhone will increase total 2011 US handset sales for Apple by a whopping 2.5 million - an estimate the analyst termed fairly "conservative."
Munster also projects that AT&T will sell 11 million iPhones, while Verizon is expected to offload 9 million of the wildly popular devices. Of course, if the iPhone didn't debut on Verizon in 2011, AT&T alone would likely sell 17.5 million of Apple's handset in the 2011 calendar year.
The Piper Jaffray analyst explained that in a "best-case scenario," AT&T could break even with 2010 and move 15 million iPhones, with Verizon set to (possibly) match the above-mentioned figure.
Meanwhile, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said he believes that Verizon needs the iPhone more than Apple needs Verizon.
"The reason that VZ arguably needs the iPhone now more than ever is as it has lost share to AT&T over the last two quarters as Android momentum slows here in the US (as per carrier subscriber data)," he said.
"We also believe VZ is willing to pay to keep the iPhone exclusive on its network and AT&T. Because of this, we believe the iPhone isn't likely to appear on T-Mobile USA and/or Sprint until later."