It’s not official yet, but if Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 finds a new home at Sprint (the nation’s third-largest carrier), it will prove to be a colossal success, at least according to one industry analyst.
In a recent note to investors, UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um speculated that if Sprint gets a green light to carry the iPhone 5, the sales could be amazing: approximately 1.2 million units. And because that estimate only covers the last few months of 2011, we’re talking about projected sales of 400,000 iPhones per month…or roughly 13,000 per day.
If the Sprint deal comes to pass, it will mark a fundamental change in the way Apple does business: for the first time, the iPhone would be available for use with three different carriers. “We believe that the addition of Sprint as a carrier for iPhone is a logical extension of Apple’s strategy,” Um wrote. “The company has increasingly moved away from the exclusive-carrier model and has been using country and carrier expansion as one way to drive growth of its iPhone and iPad lines.”
Unlimited Data Deal
Sprint’s unlimited data plan would surely be a strong incentive for potential buyers/users; a recent survey of Sprint users indicated that more than half would be willing to purchase an iPhone if available with Sprint service. However, some industry voices have wondered aloud if Sprint would be able to maintain an unlimited data plan for long, because of the strong possibility that iPhone users would overload its data networks. Such has been the case for AT&T and Verizon, each of which already offers the iPhone. Both carriers have had to step away from their unlimited data plans and put tiered plans in their place.
The iPhone has already proven itself to be a sales phenomenon, even in a troubled economy. During the second quarter of 2011, more than 20 million iPhones flew off store shelves. Compared with the second quarter of 2010, sales jumped almost 150 percent. Furthermore, the Q2 sales of the iPhone were almost 2 million units stronger than those of the first quarter, showing that the iPhone’s appeal is still robust and growing.
Granted, the Sprint projections are very early, considering that Apple hasn’t even officially announced a release date for the much-anticipated iPhone 5 (although most industry gossip suggests that the iPhone will be released sometime in October). Still, just the idea of the possible revenues generated by iPhone 5 sales made Sprint’s stock spike 10 percent.
And there’s another provocative projection from analyst Maynard Um. He indicated that if Sprint can land the iPhone 5, he anticipates that Sprint will also be selected to carry the iPad 3, which is expected to arrive during 2012.
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