Almost one-in-ten iPhones may have been jailbroken, new data from analytics company, Pinch Media, suggests.

The company claims an estimated 8.6% of iPhones are jailbroken – up from 8.43% one month ago. Pinch Media adds that of the nearly 1 million new iPhones they recorded with their analytic software last week, 17.1% were jailbroken.

We expected an increase in frequency of jailbreaking following the release of the iPhone 3GS. We think the carriers must carry the can for their part in this – it’s not all Apple’s problem.

Why?

Apple’s network partners failed to offer a subsidy to existing iPhone users in order to facilitate their upgrade to the 3GS, causing many upgraders to sell or to give away their older iPhone, putting millions of them potentially into the arms of jailbreakers.

Last year O2 in the UK allowed customers with the first-generation iPhone to break their contracts and upgrade to the iPhone 3G on the day of release. However, to get the new iPhone 3GS, existing customers were asked to buy themselves out of their existing contracts, (very expensive), or invited to purchase the new model on Pay & Go.

In the UK, once a Pay & Go iPhone 3GS was purchased, O2 recommended customers should “give your existing iPhone 3G to someone you know”, after having swapped across the SIM card in order to retain their existing number.

Naturally, this generated growth in the second user market for older iPhones. A swift eBay search reveals a healthy trade in these.

There also appears to be some hesitancy when it comes to installing iPhone Software 3.0.1. Pinch Media reports there are now 56.4% users and 57.2% sessions on 3.0, and 18.0% users and 17.1% sessions on 3.0.1, for a total of 74.4% users and 74.3% sessions on OS 3.0 or higher.

Apple meanwhile warns that phone networks could suffer “potentially catastrophic” cyberattacks by iPhone-wielding hackers at home and abroad if iPhone owners are permitted to jailbreak their devices.

That’s against the background of the US Copyright Office which is mulling over a  request by the EFF to legalise jailbreaking. Apple warns that opening the platform in this way could see national communications toppled, and may even give the street drugs industry a boost by enabling criminals to hack into the iPhone to make free and anonymous calls. A set of arguments which underline the intensity with which Apple wants to oppose jailbreaking.

As with file-sharing, however, the cat’s out the bag, and we think the frequency of jailbreaking will only increase as the second-user iPhone market grows.

Pinch Media’s statistics indicate this is what is happening.

About the Author