AT&T Paying Apple $18/Month Per iPhone Customer - analyst

Includes: AAPL, T
by: SA Eli Hoffmann

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates AT&T is paying Apple an average of $18/month for each iPhone subscriber, or $432 over the course of a two-year contract, way ahead of his previous estimates of $6.50/month. Munster's estimate takes the 1.4 million iPhones that Apple has sold, subtracts the 250,000 iPhones Apple said it believes were bought to unlock from AT&T, giving him 1.15 million revenue-generating iPhones for Apple's Q4. Apple recorded $118 million in iPhone-related revenue during the quarter, from which Muenster subtracts his estimate of phone sale revenues to arrive at the final figure. Muenster says the figure surprised him, and sees this as extremely bullish for Apple. It also speaks volumes of how important it is for Apple not to open up the iPhone to other wireless providers, and explains why Apple has taken such a hard-line on iPhone unlockers. Ultimately, the new data caused Muenster to boost his Apple 2009 revenue estimate to $42.8 billion from $36.2 billion, and 2009 EPS by 14%. His price target on Apple goes from $220 to $250. On Thursday, Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner told clients he estimates Apple is receiving $12/month from AT&T for each iPhone customer.

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