If one analyst is right, it just might. According to Silicon Alley Insider Kathryn Huberty of Morgan Stanley released a note today that predicts a huge surge in Apple sales if they end exclusivity. Since the iPhone's release, Apple and AT&T have been inextricably tied. While the iPhone has brought AT&T millions of new customers, the carrier has done little to endear itself to Apple, or to the legions of iPhone customers.
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AT&T's service and data plans have a bad reputation for slow 3G speeds, and in some areas their percentage of dropped calls is as high as 30%. In all honesty, the iPhone brand has succeeded in spite of AT&T. When exclusivity ends next year and other carriers start picking up the iPhone, it's likely we'll see a large number of users jump ship.
If Huberty is correct, an expansion to multiple carriers will also signal huge growth for the iPhone. She believes that their worldwide market share could jump to 10%, compared to 4% today, if Apple ends exclusivity in the six iPhone markets that are still exclusive. If Apple takes on Verizon or someone else as a U.S. carrier, their stateside market share could see a jump from 4.9% to 12.2%.
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2010 is going to be a good year for smartphone shoppers. With both the Pre and iPhone quitting exclusivity, I think we're poised to see a huge growth in the number of smartphone owners. The iPhone has proved it is excellent at enticing new users. With multiple carriers, the iPhone will only become more attractive to new users.