iPhone subscription payment estimate bumped to $18\/month

It's an open secret that Apple and AT&T struck a revenue-sharing agreement before the launch of the iPhone, with AT&T paying part of its monthly subscription fees to Apple for every iPhone activated through the network. But no one knows exactly what that number is, although analysts have made guesses all over the map. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster said back in July that he believed AT&T was paying $3 per month per iPhone customer to Apple and $11 per month for new customers. 苏州美睫美甲

Munster has now revised that guess, and jacked it up quite a bit. In a new research report issued this week, Munster said that he now believes AT&T is paying Apple $18 per month per iPhone customer. That is several magnitudes higher than Munster's original estimate, and as Silicon Alley Insider points out, totals up to $432 per subscriber over a two-year contract. Now that iPhones are going for a mere $399, that means Apple makes (a lot) more on its service contract with AT&T than its margins on hardware sales. That's assuming that Munster's estimate is correct, that is (Citibank analyst Richard Gardner told Silicon Alley Insider that he estimated the payments were closer to $12 per month per subscriber.)

Munster went on to say that he predicts that Apple will hit iPhone sales out of the ballpark over the next few years. Specifically, he expects Apple to top out at 3.4 million by the end of 2007, 12.9 million in 2008 (exceeding Apple's own estimate of 10 million through 2008), and an insane 45 million in 2009. Munster justifies this by pointing out that he expects touchscreen parts to drop dramatically in price by 2009—which would theoretically also cause handset prices to drop—in addition to new features such as 3G capabilities and possibly even GPS. Oh Gene, will you read my palm too?