updated 10:45 pm EDT, Tue August 23, 2011
Piper estimates 6m Sprint iPhones in 2012
Recently leaked plans for an iPhone on Sprint could see Apple add six million more iPhones to its tally in 2012, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated Tuesday. Using Verizon's iPhone activations so far, where 11 percent of all cellphones sold are Apple's, he applied the same proportion to Sprint's own expected performance. Having the one extra carrier could accelerate Apple's iPhone sales expansion from 30 percent next year to 37 percent.
How actual results play out might vary sharply. Verizon was and still is considered a bastion for Android, where HTC, Motorola, and Samsung ship their best phones. Sprint can get major Android phones such as the Evo 3D but often has a harder time attracting 'halo' phones to its lineup. The iPhone 5, and the iPhone 4 also rumored to be coming to Sprint, could capture a wider audience simply by having less competition.
Any iPhone launch could still be stymied by slow customer additions as well as a negative reputation Sprint is still trying to shake. It was once infamous for poor support and has spent much of the past few years improving that area.
Other factors could also play into the performance, such as whether or not Virgin Mobile gets involved. Virgin already sells the iPhone 4 in Canada, but it's controlled by a different company and with different rates. Its American network is one of the cheapest for smartphones at $35 per month but is often limited in its smartphone mix to steer customers to the more profitable Sprint network.