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Apple's iPhone May Be Better Off Without AT&T

An analyst said ending exclusive iPhone contracts with carriers could result in a significant market share. And that is already happening in the U.K., where O2 is loosing exclusivity to Vodaphone and Orange.

The online publication Business Insider reported on Friday that an analyst at Morgan Stanley, Kathryn Huberty, wrote in a research note that the Apple iPhone could more than double its share of the mobile market if Apple moved from exclusive carrier contracts and opened up to selling the iPhone through more carriers per country.

AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S.

The Business Insider, quoting from Huberty's report, said that Apple's iPhone market share could rise to an average of 10 percent in the top six iPhone markets if it signed with multiple carriers compared to its present 4 percent.

In the U.S., for instance, opening the iPhone to more carriers, including Verizon, could increase the iPhone's share of the mobile market to 12.2 percent, compared to the current 4.9 percent, Business Insider wrote.

Huberty wrote that she expects Apple to sell 41.7 million iPhones in 2010, up from her earlier forecast of 38.2 million units, Business Insider wrote.

Dropping exclusive contracts is already starting. Vodaphone on Friday said that it will start providing service for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in England and Ireland starting in 2010.

This follows an agreement unveiled last week between Apple and Orange under which Orange, a part of France Telecom, will bring the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS to U.K. customers later this year.

O2, part of Spain-based Telefonica, had been the exclusive provider of the iPhone in the U.K. and Ireland since July.

The entire Business Insider story can be read by clicking here.

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