Bloomberg: All US Carriers May Get iPhone

Bloomberg is reporting that all US carriers may get access to the iPhone over the next 18 months, according to a financial analyst report. The key word in that sentence is "may."

On Wednesday it's very likely that AT&T will lose iPhone exclusivity. Indeed if Apple wants to push the iPhone deeper into the US market it must make the device more broadly available.

The Nexus One, which I've been using for a few weeks, is the first Android device that's "good enough" to preempt the iPhone. In some ways the N1 is more impressive than iPhone 3GS; but expect the 4G iPhone to pull out some surprises. 

The current iPhone is GSM. But there's speculation about a CDMA version for Verizon, which could also work on the Sprint network. Apple reports earnings today and it will also reveal how many iPhone OS devices it sold last quarter. The total could well push the OS beyond the 70 million mark on a global basis. We'll see. 

The Palm Pre (which I own and increasingly dislike) and its sibling the Pixi are coming to Verizon. If Apple announces the iPhone for Verizon it will kill Pre sales there, though perhaps not the Pixi since that's a potentially different audience of potential buyers. One question is whether we'll see the same subsidy from Verizon that AT&T has been providing. Probably so. 

Another variable is the forthcoming tablet: Will it affect iPhone or iPod Touch sales? That depends in part on the price. That's unclear at this point although there is a range of theories: $800 unlocked to $500-$600 with carrier subsidy. The iPhone probably wouldn't be affected by the "iPad" but the iPod Touch could be. 

If in fact the iPhone comes to all US carriers, it will very likely become the dominant smartphone in the US market. RIM and Android/Google (and its OEM partners) will try and prevent that but the momentum would be huge. The caveats and questions are: whether the device will become available widely and how soon?

Even with "only" Verizon availability that would mean access to 89 million more potential buyers in the US market.