Verizon announced it will begin offing the first CDMA version of an iPhone 4 in early February during a special media event on Tuesday. While that’s good news for U.S. iPhone customers looking for an alternative to AT&T, UBS analyst thinks it’s also a smart move for Apple’s potential sales in other countries, too.
“While a CDMA version of the iPhone at Verizon represents a significant opportunity for Apple to expand its addressable market domestically, the company also opens itself up to opportunities abroad,” Mr. Um said. “We believe it makes sense for Apple to sign additional partnerships with CDMA carriers around the world.”
Both Japan’s KDDI and China Unicom are logical choices for CDMA partners outside the U.S., according to Mr. Um.
Adding a CDMA-based iPhone allows Apple to expand its potential customer base to new carriers. The GSM-based iPhone that Apple has been selling ever since the combination iPod and smartphone was originally launched aren’t compatible with the wireless technology CDMA-based carriers use, cutting off that potential customer base.
Mr. Um is predicting Apple will sell some 67.3 million iPhones in 2011. He added “Apple has set itself up for a solid year of iPhone sales. Today’s agreement with Verizon Wireless should provide additional momentum to already strong iPhone unit growth.”
Mr. Um is maintaining his “Buy” rating and $365 target price for Apple’s stock. Apple is currently trading at $341.41, down 1.05 (-0.31%).