Next year could be it for AT&T. Customers are losing patience with spotty service. Lawyers are filing class action lawsuits about the lack of MMS. Now Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster has forecast the end of Apple's iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T.
According to Munster, the economics of the situation don't make sense for Apple, as evidenced with the success they've had in France moving to a multiple carrier business model. Market share for the iPhone in France has increased to 40 percent since they ended an exclusive deal with Orange.
Apple's market share in the US under the AT&T agreement is under 20 percent.
Munster is predicting that Apple will announce a new iPhone model next summer, along with more carriers that will be able to use the iPhone with their networks.Apple has already sold 26 million iPhones in 80 countries. Munster anticipates that a deal to sell the iPhone in China could lead to an additional 3 million units sold by September 2010.
In another interesting prediction, the analyst believes Apple might one day offer a monthly subscription to television shows via iTunes. A price of $30-40 monthly for this service could impact cable providers.
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Munster also shoots down the idea that Apple will release some kind of iPhone Nano model that would cost less than the subsidized $99 iPhone 3G.