updated 02:00 pm EDT, Mon August 17, 2009
Carriers Hurt by iPhone
Despite claims to the contrary, Apple's iPhone is ultimately hurting the carriers that have picked it up, a Strand Consult study says. The analyst group maintains that "not one" provider offering the iPhone has seen a financial or market share boost since adding it to their rosters. In many cases, these companies have either seen reduced profit from the heavy subsidies needed for the iPhone or haven't seen the surge in data revenues they expected from customers moving to more expensive smartphone plans.
The pressure on AT&T's profits from the iPhone 3G launch in July 2008 is cited as an example, while Singapore's SingTel also reported a squeeze on its profit margins and Scandinavian carrier TeliaSonera has actually reported decreasing market share and average revenues per person in Denmark and Sweden, both of which have the iPhone.
By comparison, some challengers have faired better without the device, the researchers argue.
The study nonetheless appears to gloss over positives for some carriers. AT&T in its latest quarter praised the iPhone 3GS for helping to minimze customer turnover as well as spike its average and data-specific revenues; only its operational expenses increased. The American carrier has fallen to second place behind Verizon in total subscribers, but the latter's victory came through the finalized takeover of Alltel, which added millions of customers.
Canada's Rogers has also reported mixed performance through the iPhone 3GS and has seen its expenses jump upwards but its data revenues have also jumped.
No predictions have been made as to whether any of the underperforming carriers would have fared as well or better without iPhones to sell.