How must it feel to be AT&T
Last week, Apple
Wait, it gets better. The Vodafone deal also included Australia and India, two countries in which Singapore's SingTel have substantial operations. SingTel became an iPhone licensee on Monday.
The rub? iPhone deals like the ones AT&T and France Telecom
But that shouldn't be surprising. We know that users want unlocked iPhones. For example, China Mobile
We also know that the iPhone is sold out online in the U.S. and U.K., and that price cuts in France and Germany are clearing inventory there. Even more telling: AT&T is reportedly planning to partially subsidize a new 3G iPhone that analysts expect to debut at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June.
Can you imagine Ma Bell daring to compete with Apple's retail stores? I can't. Unless, of course, the terms have changed. Unless the iEmpire now believes distribution trumps exclusivity.
If so, it's a big move. Apple was reported to be receiving as much as $18 a month in telecom royalties, which would add up to hundreds of millions per year.
Apple would be crazy to let that go if the iPhone hadn't already claimed 6.5% of the global smartphone market. But it has, which strongly suggests that the iEmpire is winning its share of head-to-head match-ups with Research In Motion's
Who needs exclusivity when you're winning on merit? Sorry, Ma Bell, but your darling dialer is all grown up.
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Fool.com and Rule Breakers contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. You can find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog entry here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is on hold. It'll be right with you.