Potentially bad news for anyone on Verizon waiting for an iPhone.
Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin says in a note today there’s “a 75% probability that AT&T keeps exclusivity in 2010.”
This runs in direct contrast to an October note from Piper Jaffray’s Chris Larsen, who said there was a 70% chance of the iPhone coming to Verizon this year. It’s also counter to the loud buzz that Verizon is getting the iPhone and iPad.
Jonathan says he “couldn’t find compelling evidence” that AT&T’s contract with Apple ends this year. He gives it a 50% chance. Additionally, there’s a 25% chance that AT&T would bid for — and win — another year of exclusivity. Add them up, you get 75%.
In this case, everyone but AT&T is a loser. According to his estimates, Apple already owns 66% of AT&T’s smartphone market share, leaving limited room for growth.
If Apple keeps AT&T exclusively, he sees its North American marketshare of smartphones shrinking to 23% in 2010 — from 26% in 2009 — implying 13.3 million units sold.
Jonathan downgraded Verizon. Without the iPhone driving growth, he thinks it’s harder to justify a premium for Verizon.
Jonathan sees the iPhone coming to Verizon in mid-2011, though.