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Mapping the iPhone World: Apples Carrier Agreements Visually and By the Numbers

iphone dice[Update June 4: Japan was up for grabs and NTT DoComo was rumored to be front runner for local iPhone distribution there. In a surprise twist, Apple appears to have opted to give the lucrative contract to number three provider, Softbank. Softbank has just over 18.8m subscribers, equal to about 18.8 percent market share. They also have only about one third the subscriber base of NTT DoCoMo but they are growing more aggressively.]

The anticipated d-day (delivery day) for iPhone 2.0 is rapidly approaching.  With it, the buzz machines are in overdrive and speculation about features and functions is bordering on frenzy.  Some outlets are showing “leaked” pictures, others claiming the inside track on feature sets.  Amidst this circus, which seems to be running without need of further factual fuel, Apple has been steadily working a different agenda:  expanding their potential market through new global carrier partners.  The depth and scope of this new found reach, from India, to Scandinavia, to Hong Kong, by the numbers, and in graphics, is as impressive (if not more so) than the volume of hype.

iphone carrier world mapThis edition of Metue’s “By the Numbers” report takes a one stop look at the iPhone by carrier relationship.  Like the game of risk, this one is all about Apple’s sweeping tide across the map of the world.   

For the quick overview of this data, there is a visual map.  It shows existing market penetration and carrier partners.  (Clicking the link, or clicking the thumbnail image above, will feature the full size version.)  

For greater detail, tables presented below run through the data used for the map.  These include a chronological list of carrier partnerships announced along with the geography covered and total available subscribers per carrier.

(Note:A much larger version is also available on Scribd for reuse subject to copyright restrictions that are described at the end of the post).

Now a few other interesting data points:

Apple had 26.7% of the U.S. Smartphone market in Q4 of calendar year 2007.  They had 19.2% in Q1 of 2008.  Competitor, Research in Motion had 35.1% in Q4, 44.5% in Q1 (via IDC).   

The negative trend could be troubling given Apple’s competition with RIM’s Blackberry but it’s difficult to draw a conclusion from the limited data.  One minimizing explanation is that buyers have been holding off in anticipation of the new phone.  Another theory, Apple’s exclusive single-carrier relationship has begun to limit their ability to sell to a broader range of corporate customers.   The new phone could address both issues.

Apple officially remains commitment to the prediction that they will sell 10m iPhones during calendar 2008.   Many analysts have adjusted their predictions to a much higher level.  Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is forecasting 12.9million units sold.  Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner is predicting 14.5m.  He’s predicting 28 million units for 2009.

•Part of the fuel for adjusting unit sale forecasts upwards is the volume of new distribution agreements Apple has signed.   Taking sheer total subscribers among partners, Apple’s addressable market size for iPhone sales (based on subscribers at partner cellular providers) is now at upwards of 550million people.    Even after factoring in adjustments to address the fact that not all subscribers are realistically qualified to be considered potential iPhone customers, the number is still substantial.  

(Analysts note: Total carrier numbers used without adjustment would be misleading.  Some cel customers counted in total subscribers won’t fit as potential iPhone buyers due to their income and spending power.  This is especially true in lower income and developing economies in countries like India.  Other carrier subscribers, within the narrower geography of a country, won’t fit because they don’t currently have access to the kinds of data network speeds and services that would make an iPhone purchase realistic.)

•3G networks, which are virtually assured to be accessible on the new phone, represents a significant part of some of Apple’s new global market opportunities and the scale is growing.   As an example, Orange UK has the largest 3G/2.5G network in their home market yet they are still spending a reported £1.5m a day on network upgrades.

•With what appears to be non-exclusive carrier agreements in India and Italy, and with Spain likely to be non-exclusive six months or less after launch (Telefonica is reported to have exclusivity in the Spanish market for only an initial period before competitors also gain distribution rights) Apple is poised to to try and capture broader segments of some International markets.

•While Apple has no official partner in Japan and is only rumored to be talking to NTT DoCoMo, cellular usage patterns give an idea of just how important that market will be.  Case in point, despite less than half the cellular subscribers (about 100m in Japan, 255 in the U.S.), mobile based commerce reportedly generated $10b in Japan (about $185 a person) compared to $480m ($13 per person) in the US. (via Fast Company).

•As of April 2008, according to Wireless Watch Japan, the leading wireless provider, NTT DoCoMo, has 53m subscribers.  44m use 3G services.  At number 2 and 3 providers KDDI and Softbank, the penetration of 3G is just as large or larger.  KDDI has 30.2m total, 29.8 use 3G.  Softbank has 18.8m subscribers, 14.5 of which are using 3G.



Carrier Country Date (approx.) Available Subscribers (est.)
AT&T U.S. 6/29/07 71m
France Telecom Orange France 11/9/07 24m
O2 UK England 11/9/07 17.8m
Deutsche Telekom  (T-Mobile) Germany 11/9/07 37m
O2 Ireland Ireland 11/9/07 1.6m
Deutsche Telekom  (T-Mobile) Austria 2/12/08  
Rogers Wireless Canada 4/29/08 7.5m
Vodaphone* Australia 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* Czech Republic 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* Egypt 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* Greece 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* Italy 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* India 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* Portugal 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* New Zealand 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* South Africa 5/6/08 140m
Vodaphone* Turkey 5/6/08 140m
Telecom Italia Italy 5/6/08  
American Movil Mexico 5/7/08 50m
American Movil Jamaica* 5/7/08 3.5m
American Movil Dominican Republic* 5/7/08 3.5m
American Movil Brazil 5/7/08 30.2m
American Movil Colombia 5/7/08 22.34m
American Movil Argentina 5/7/08 12.9m
American Movil Paraguay 5/7/08 9.6m
American Movil Guatemala* 5/7/08 8.16m
American Movil Nicaragua* 5/7/08 8.16m
American Movil El Salvador* 5/7/08 8.16m
American Movil Honduras* 5/7/08 8.16m
American Movil Ecuador 5/7/08 9.65m
American Movil Peru 5/7/08 5.46m
American Movil Chile 5/7/08 2.67m
Swisscom Switzerland 5/7/08  
France Telecom Orange Poland 5/8/08 14m
France Telecom Orangeˆ Spain 5/8/08 11m
Telefonica Spain 5/9/08 22m
Vodaphone* Portugal 5/10/08 140m
Singapore Telecom Australia 5/12/08 7m
Singapore Telecom India 5/12/08 64.4m
Singapore Telecom Philipines 5/12/08  
Singapore Telecom Singapore 5/12/08 1.9m
France Telecom Orange Austria 5/16/08  
France Telecom Orange Belgium 5/16/08 3.4m
France Telecom Orange Egypt 5/16/08 10.7m
France Telecom Orange Jordon 5/16/08 1.5m
TeliaSonera Sweden 5/27/08 106m¹
TeliaSonera Norway 5/27/08 106m
TeliaSonera Denmark 5/27/08 106m
TeliaSonera Finland 5/27/08 106m
TeliaSonera Lithuania 5/27/08 106m
TeliaSonera Latvia 5/27/08 106m
TeliaSonera Estonia 5/27/08 106m
Hutchinson Telecom Hong Kong, Maccau 5/30/08 2.5m
Softbank Japan June 4, 2008 18.8m



1 *Vodaphone has more than 250m subscribers across 66 countries. 140m is an estimate for the ten announced May 6 as indicated by color.
2 America Movil operates networks through several brands including Comcel Colombia (Colombia), Claro, Telcel (Mexico) and Porto.  Many of their Latin and South American services are via Claro.
3 America Movile subscriber numbers for the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are a combined total. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua are also combined.
4 Swisscom in Switzerland and France Telecom via Orange Polska in Poland are still rumored and not confirmed as noted.
5 France Telecom Orange owns 77% of Spanish company Amena (aka Orange Espana).  They are expected to offer the phone in Spain but Telefonica appears to have an exclusive window for the first 6  months.
6 Telefonica will offer the phone in Spain through the Movistar brand. Exclusivity appears limited to the first 6 months or less.
7 ¹ Telesonera subscriber numbers are sum for entire network
8 NTT DoCoMo was rumored to be in the lead for Japan but Softbank appears to have gotten the agreement per the update to this article.


[Copyright Note on the Metue iPhone Map:  The image has been presented here in a reduced size for optimal web viewing.  While it does enlarge on mouse click, a much larger copy has also been placed on the iPhone compatible document repository website Scribd for those interested in even higher resolution (Contact me for print resolution).   All copyrights are retained by Metue but digital reprinting or reuse is allowed provided Metue is credited in any reprint and, in the case of a website or blog using the graphic, a link back to also accompanies the reprint.]


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