Apple: Apple would obviously be a huge winner. Having access to Verizon's 93.2 million wireless subscribers would give Apple millions of potential new customers in the United States, along with the associated revenue that brings in the form of not only handset sales through Verizon, but also revenue from the company's App Store. "Apple wins big by simple virtue of securing the biggest distribution channel," said CCS Insight analyst John Jackson.
Getting access to all of those potential customers at Verizon--where there is obviously some pent-up demand--would also serve to blunt Google's Android platform. "There's a more than 10 percent additional market opportunity if they also support CDMA," Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin said. Verizon has embraced Android and the Droid franchise, and the iPhone would certainly take some attention away from that, though how much it would hurt Android is a matter for debate.
Verizon: Verizon would be another obvious beneficiary from the partnership. In one fell swoop Verizon would satisfy not only its customers who have been holding out for the iPhone, but also attract customers away from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), the current exclusive U.S. provider of the device.
"It's going to attract customers from the other carriers," said Nielsen analyst Roger Entner. "It will attract customers from AT&T who would like to enjoy the iPhone from another network. It increases ARPU, it lowers churn, and it also increases your handset subsidy significantly." That last part might be a negative consequence for Verizon--but on the whole, Verizon is a big winner. The carrier will likely attract more subscribers and get more customers to upgrade to smartphones. Verizon had a postpaid churn of 1.07 percent in the third quarter; that's an indication that a lot of customers will likely be sticking around.
Qualcomm: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), the leading CDMA chip vendor, stands to gain, simply for the volumes of CDMA iPhones that will likely be sold. If Apple makes a CDMA iPhone it will likely be pushing it to as many CDMA carriers as possible, which would only enhance Qualcomm's bottom line. Qualcomm likely would only be providing the modem for the device, and not the application processor, analysts said, but would still benefit.
Additionally, other component manufacturers for the iPhone would stand to gain from the jump in unit volumes. These vendors include Samsung, which provides Flash memory for iPhone, as well as Foxconn, which manufactures the phone.
iOS developers: Developers for Apple's iOS platform would benefit because of the likely increase in the iOS installed base. "There's nothing new they have to do," said ABI Research analyst Kevin Burden. "But their potential user base would go up significantly." Burden argued that there are many popular apps that AT&T iPhone customers have downloaded that Android subscribers might not have, and a Verizon iPhone would open up "a whole new crop" of potential customers.
Consumers: The general consensus is that consumers would benefit from a Verizon iPhone, simply for the democratization of the user experience. "Consumers always benefit from choice," Entner said. "Intuitively, you would think that more competition should lower prices across the board," Jackson added.
Smartphones in general: Some smartphone makers might lose out more than others if a Verizon iPhone came to pass, but in general, the deal would likely give a further boost to a market that grew 78 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Bajarin said that a Verizon iPhone would generate even more excitement around smartphones.