Verizon may only net Apple 2.5 million more iPhone sales

iPhone on VerizonThough you shouldn’t wager on the forecasts of analysts, it’s always interesting to hear what they have to say. Today, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, told AppleInsider that if Apple adds Verizon Wireless as an iPhone carrier in early 2011, the company may not double its sales, as you might think. In fact, sales may go up only 14 percent, or 2.5 million, as a flurry of people simply switch from AT&T to Verizon when the choice becomes available.

Munster believes that the iPhone will be a hot item at Verizon, but not nearly as popular as it is on AT&T, where the device sold 5.2 million units in the third quarter of 2010 and constitutes 80 percent of the carrier’s smartphone sales. On Verizon, he believes it may make up just 36 percent (9 million) of smartphone sales, which should total 25+ million next year, consisting mostly of Android handsets. If AT&T sells the iPhone without any competition from Verizon, Munster believes it will move about 17.5 million devices. With competition, AT&T will only sell 11 million iPhones. However, he notes that these figures are “conservative.”

In 2010, AT&T is expected to sell about 15.6 million iPhones, about 34 percent of Apple’s global sales, which are expected to grow from 46.3 million to 63 million next year. Looking even further into a volatile future, Munster believes Apple will sell 78.3 million iPhones in 2012. How does he know this, considering how drastically the market can change each year? Magic.

Are you planning to scoop up a Verizon iPhone when it comes out? Will you switch from AT&T to do it?