Would Verizon Wireless, the top U.S. wireless carrier, want to sell Apple’s iPhone? Of course they would!
Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg hammered that point home on the company’s earnings call today. As transcribed by the Wall Street Journal:
“This is a decision that is exclusively in Apple’s court,” he said during Verizon’s third-quarter earnings call. “We obviously would be interested at any point in the future they thought it would make sense for them to have us as a partner. And so we will leave it with them on that score.”
“What they have done has been successful, so we have to sit back and give them credit for that,” he said. “Our view is to broaden the base of choice for customers, and hopefully along the way, Apple, as well as others, will decide to jump on the bandwagon.”
What about the “iDon’t” attack ads against the iPhone, supporting Verizon’s new Google “Droid” phones? Those attack ads need only last as long as AT&T’s exclusive deal to sell Apple’s phones. Don’t forget that Apple attacked Intel chips in its ads for years before eventually using them in Macs.
Selling the iPhone at Verizon would be a positive step for both companies. Why?
- Verizon could help Apple sell more phones than AT&T alone. (Likely at similar, or at least adequate levels of profitability.) Verizon has the largest wireless subscriber base in the country, many of whom have chosen to stick with Verizon because of its higher network quality than AT&T. (About 40% of the iPhone’s subscribers each period are new to AT&T, despite AT&T only representing about 25% of the U.S. market.) Apple would absolutely sell more iPhones than it does now if it sold its phones at multiple carriers.
- Apple could help Verizon attract more new subscribers than it is attracting today. AT&T gained 2 million subscribers last quarter, thanks in large part to the iPhone. Verizon gained only 1.2 million. We know many iPhone owners who would happily jump to Verizon once their AT&T contract is up. (We’d probably do it ourselves.) So a Verizon deal to sell the iPhone would be very good for Verizon, and bad for its archrival AT&T.
Potential hurdles: Wholesale pricing, marketing co-spend agreements, in-store activation, if Verizon wants a cut from App Store sales, if Apple wants to wait until Verizon’s 4G network is more widespread to launch there.
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