iPhone sales could be threatened as subsidized costs become more visible, say analysts

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How much did your iPhone cost? If you said $199, $299 or even $399 you’re somewhere near $350 off. As some consciously forget, the carriers often shield the owner from the real total cost of the iPhone. That may not last.

iPhone sales could be hurt as carriers switch from so-called subsidized contracts, where customers pay only a fraction of the cost a new iPhone up-front, to deals where the true cost of the phone is more visible, argues a piece in the WSJ.

Many U.S. iPhone customers are not aware that the full cost of an iPhone ranges from $549 for a 16GB 5c to $849 for a 64GB 5s. The reason is that carriers have traditionally asked for only $0 to $200 up-front, hiding the balance of the cost in the monthly tariff. With carriers now switching to separate instalment costs for the phone, and the cost of upgrading every year or two more visible to consumers, analysts believe some will choose to upgrade less often …

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Report: Sprint wants to buy T-Mobile USA in 2014

(via Flickr)

Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort. Read more

Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …  Read more

Why iPhone longevity means iOS carrier activation share doesn’t resemble sales

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There was a lot of confusion yesterday when Verizon’s results were discussed, with more than one commentator confusing activations and sales. For the record, what Verizon announced was that 51 percent of its activations were iPhone, not 51 percent of its phone sales.

If you doubt the importance of this distinction, I have one word for you: T-Mobile. As of 11th April, the carrier had two million iPhone activations. Its iPhone sales as of the same date? Zero: T-Mobile didn’t start selling iPhones until the following day.

The difference between the two numbers is particularly dramatic with high-end handsets like the iPhone …  Read more

Walmart iPhone pre-orders start tomorrow, 5c at $79, 5s at $189

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Walmart has announced that it will be offering both of the new iPhone models in their 16Gb versions, the 5c at $79 (a $20 saving) and the 5s at $189 (a $10 savings). Walmart offers the phones on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

What’s interesting here is that Apple Stores usually do price matching so it might be worth a try after waiting on line on launch day. Best Buy will also price match often, so this could trigger markdowns all over …  Read more

Canadian carrier Telus will discontinue 32 and 64GB iPhone 5 on September 28th, 16GB to remain on as mid-tier?

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A new leaked doc from Canadian carrier Telus (via MobileSyrup) shows that the carrier has plans to discontinue the iPhone 5 on September 28 just days after the next-generation iPhones are rumored to launch. Although it would lend weight to the theory that Apple could get rid of the iPhone 5 since the rumored iPhone 5S and especially the lower cost iPhone 5C are so close internally to the current device, the doc only shows that the 32GB and 64GB models will be discontinued, which might be a clue the 16GB iPhone 5 will stick around as an entry level model.

Keeping the 16GB iPhone 5 seems to line up with what we’ve been hearing at Verizon and adds even more weight to the theory that Apple will keep the iPhone 5 around as a lower cost option perhaps in between the 5S and the 5C in much the same way that the last-gen iPhone 4S currently occupies the $99/plan spot in Apple’s lineup.

On the other hand, often-accurate KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo said earlier this month that he thinks Apple will stop selling the iPhone 5 at the end of Q3 2013 and continuing selling the iPhone 4S until the end of the year.

Apple yesterday sent out invites to the September 10th event and is expected to start selling the iPhone 5S and 5C starting around the 20th of September.

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Update: Similar chatter is coming out of Vodafone Germany, indicating that the 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5 and 16GB iPhone 4S will soon be discontinued.
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