Apple is widely expected to end its exclusive agreement with AT&T this year and allow Verizon and possibly other U.S. carriers to offer the iPhone. An industry analyst disputes this, and says AT&T will be the only one offering this extremely popular smartphone for another year.
Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with Credit Suisse, said today, “Our analysis suggests that Apple will eventually sell the device at all carriers; however, there is a much greater probability that AT&T keeps exclusivity for another 12-18 months than investors realize.”
Like most analysts, Chapin had previously thought that Verizon would begin offering the iPhone this summer, but now has evidence that the situation has changed. However, he did not go into details on what his sources for this information are.
A Sought-After Prize
Unconfirmed reports that Verizon Wireless will become the second U.S. carrier to offer Apple’s iPhone have been circulating for many months, and at this point is taken as a given by many.
In addition, analysts at Oppenheimer & Co. recently predicted that all of the top of U.S. carriers will be offering Apple’s smartphone by the end of this year.
If these reports are incorrect, it will be a tremendous boost for AT&T, as it will get to hold on to the exclusive right to offer the iPhone for another year. Apple’s smartphone is very popular, and anyone in the U.S. who wants one has to become an AT&T customer.
It will also be a boon for other other smartphone operating systems, especially the Android OS and webOS. Many customers are turning to these because they are looking for an iPhone-like experience without having to switch to AT&T.