Are 10% Of iPhones Sold To Unlockers?

from the are-10%-now-bricked? dept

Analysts from investment bank Piper Jaffray are making some news today after releasing a report claiming that 10% of iPhones are actually being sold to groups that are unlocking them and reselling them. They seem to be basing this on the fact that there are a bunch of folks going in and buying the maximum single allotment of 5 iPhones at a time. If this is true, the actual number of unlocked iPhones could actually be significantly higher, as many unlockers are buying the phone and unlocking it themselves. On the flip side, there could be other explanations for people buying 5 iPhones rather than to resell them unlocked. Either way, it should be clear that there's a fair amount of demand for unlocked iPhones, which again raises the question of why Steve Jobs ever agreed to an exclusive with AT&T.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 1:49pm

    He agreed to be exclusive with AT&T because Verizon wouldn't agree to the things that Jobs wanted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 2:21pm

    I will give you a hint:

    iPhone purchase price in Chicago (w/tax): $450
    iPhone sale price in Moscow, Russia: $800
    Roundtrip ticket Chicago Moscow: $600

    Profit: ($800 - $450) * 5 - $600 = $1150

    Do I really have to explain any further?

    P.S. Interestingly enough, there has NEVER been "unlocking" problem in Russia since, like, day 2. They give you a special SIM card ($15), you insert it, bam, unlocked...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Alan McSwain (profile), Oct 5th, 2007 @ 2:58pm

    Open Phones are CRAVED.

    The "Walled Garden" is dead. Nobody believes for a second that phones "need to be kept locked to protect the carrier's network".

    Jobs can keep this game up but he will not win. The iPhone form factor will be cloned and soon. At that point OpenMoko or QTopia will be modded to give the iPhone software look and feel to the iPhone Clones.

    Business plans, like the Apple/AT&T one, that are based upon "Customer Lock-In" are fundamentally immoral as they are grounded in coersion and start your customer relationship off with a big dose of hostility.

    Only the greedy refuse to give customers what they want at a fair price.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 3:20pm

    Yeah, thats the source UIs

    "OpenMoko or QTopia will be modded to give the iPhone look and feel"

    Yeah, thats why those Linux UIs that are modded to give the OSX look and feel have pushed Linux past real OS X on the desktop.

    Jobs may not win, but its hardly going to be some open source Linux UI project on a clone that is going to beat the iPhone. Keep dreaming, though!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Mike Mixer, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 3:51pm

    The Ipig in a poke

    Steve Jobs pulled the biggest scam on AT&T you've ever seen. After the switch to Intel chips he had to know that there wasn't a chance in hell of that kind of lock in surviving. Jobs really skinned AT&T for the right to be the first hacked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Kiba, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 4:48pm

    OpenMoko is a linux platform. What you're talking about is the neo1973.

    The guys behind OpenMoko are smart. Their phones are not locked. They're making openness the selling point and you have developers developing applications on the OpenMoko platform.

    The group behind OpenMoko(FIC)'s strategy of openness and willingness to support 3rd party developers may make them the iphone killer, not the ability to clone the look and feel of iphone.

    In short, they're going to be the one who do it right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Shanghai Bitch, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 6:54pm

    Apple gets a cut

    Apple gets a cut of every ATT iPhone contract, it's worth millions. To get that cut, I bet they had to promise ATT to keep it locked. (and they want it locked so they get their cut.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 8:33pm


    1. Buy iPhone
    2. ???
    3. Profit

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    novernetsbandit, Oct 6th, 2007 @ 11:16pm


    When u look at apple what do u see something microsoft could of killed long ago but didnt.. so is jobs really doing anything different then when he copied xeriox in the 80's? hes tring to make money to keep apple afloat.. i still dont see myself buying a apple and i first used a apple 2se and hated the fact i couldnt really upgrade anything.... ill stick with my razor or windows pc clone anyday!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Bah who needs one, Oct 7th, 2007 @ 1:00pm

    What's this about a "maximum single allotment of 5"? I hadn't heard that the US had instituted war-time rationing -- and absent such, if I want to buy six of something and I have the money then I should certainly be able to plop that money down and get six of whatever-it-is, unless it's naturally *so* scarce that they don't *have* that many for sale. (I can't think of much that fits this description except various originals of art works, where there'd be only one of each, and naturally red diamonds, of which I hear there are only eight in the world and therefore probably never six for sale at the same time.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2007 @ 11:23am

    > 1. Buy iPhone
    > 2. ???
    > 3. Profit

    I dunno about you, but $230 in my pocket tell me that I've got my #2 right. :-b

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    sammy colbert, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Most think 10% is a low number. Remember that Apple said 250,000 iPhones were unaccounted for. Apple loses on this, considering it picks up something like $10 a month from every iPhone on AT&T.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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