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In the days leading up to Apple’s earnings call, some analysts worried that carriers might try to cut their heavy iPhone subsidy agreements, potentially hurting Apple’s revenue.Tim Cook tried to shoot down these fears in the earnings call last week by noting that iPhone users tend to be more loyal to the carrier than those with other phones. “Many of the carrier executives have told me that churn from iPhone customers is the lowest of any phone they sell in their whole — in all of the phones they carry,” Cook said. “And that has a significant direct financial benefit to the carrier.”
Strictly speaking this is true, but not by very much.
According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a market research firm that surveys Apple customers each month about their shopping behaviour, 82% of those with an iPhone choose to stick with the same carrier for their next phone compared to 76% of those without iPhones.
To claim, as Tim Cook does, that this slight 6 percentage point difference makes up for Apple’s strict carrier subsidy agreements may be a bit of a stretch.