iPhone not benefiting operators, claims analyst

"We have not found a single operator where the iPhone has created shareholder value," claims Stand Consult in a hard-hitting study of the Apple handset and its impact on mobile service providers. The firm maintains operators have not increased their market share, revenue or earnings as a result of introducing the iPhone. On the contrary, some operators have sent out profit warnings because of the iPhone.

Stand cites examples such as SingTel, SE Asia's largest phone firm, which has seen operating profit margin drop by three to four percentage points after introducing the iPhone, while TeliaSonera, which sells the iPhone in all Nordic countries, had seen no boost in market share, and its ARPU has fallen in Denmark and Sweden by more than its competitors.

Within the study, Stand claims the iPhone has:

  • Only attracted a limited market segment, and is not a mass-market product.
  • Operators offering the iPhone have invested an incredible amount of management resources on launching and understanding the iPhone.
  • Non-iPhone customers are feeling overlooked.
  • The upsurge in iPhone data traffic was underway before its launch.
  • Having iPhone customers using large data volumes sounds good, but not when data is being sold at a flat rate.
  • Apple's revenue sharing policies are pushing operators to become dumb pipes.
  • Non-iPhone operators and MVNOs are benefitting from selling SIM cards to work with unlocked iPhones.

"The conclusion is simple," said John Strand, the firm's CEO. "This is not good business for shareholders of operators that are Apple and iPhone partners--on the contrary, it is far better business not being an Apple and iPhone partner. Operators that choose not to carry iPhone products have an increased probability of serving their shareholders' interests over those that move their management's focus, subsidies, marketing and distribution power to the Apple handset."

For more on this story:
V3
and Strand Consult

Related stories:
Rumour mill: T-Mobile Germany to lose iPhone exclusive 
SIM-only and iPhone boost O2 subscriber numbers
O2 doubles price of new iPhone, blames lower subsidies
Skype/iPhone combo causes operator angst
O2 to crack down on iPhone tethering cheats

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