Analyst Believes Sprint iPhone Imminent

Folks have been wondering if we would see a Sprint iPhone now that a CDMA iPhone is available, and it seems the bad news coming from Verizon may mean some positive news for Sprint. Citadel Securities analyst Shing Yin wrote on Wednesday that Verizon's announcement that, as of Thursday, it will no longer offer unlimited data plans will give Apple a reason to offer the hot smartphone to the nation's third-largest wireless carrier.

Yin believes that Apple will make the move to Sprint because Sprint will be the only one of the big 4 wireless carrier with an unlimited data plan offering, something Apple, he believes, finds extremely desirable (although T-Mobile advertises unlimited data, once users reach 5GB of data use, T-Mobile begins throttling their data transfer rates).

Yin believes that neither Verizon nor AT&T has any contractual hold over Apple with regards to preventing the company from offering the device to other carriers. Additionally, public statements from both Verizon and Apple have indicated the same: no exclusivity for the CDMA version to Verizon, although so far no other CDMA carriers in the world carry the device.

Yin added that with its attractive plan pricing, a Sprint iPhone "could offer an attractive proposition for more price-conscious users (a demographic that we think is increasingly important to Apple following the rise of Android), and could be a relatively stronger seller than the Verizon iPhone.

“We believe Sprint could capture more than its fair share of iPhone sales, especially if it gets the new model at the same time as AT&T and Verizon.”

Sprint finished Wednesday at $5.51, and Yin has an “Edge Positive” rating on Sprint shares, with a $6.50 target price. He expects Sprint will see post-paid subscriber numbers at worst flat year-over-year, which would still be an improvement from the annual Sprint declines of the last seven years.

Yin didn't write about T-Mobile, but if Sprint gets an iPhone, why not T-Mobile? Even better than Sprint, T-Mobile uses GSM technology, just as AT&T does. The big difference between the two networks is that T-Mobile's 3G (and 4G) network uses different frequencies than AT&T's. That said, it would be pretty easy for Apple to get the iPhone on T-Mobile's network.

An iPhone on all of the big four networks can't do anything but increase iPhone sales. So, what do you say, Apple?