Apple Is Downgraded As Carriers Subsidize iPhone Sales

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Apple Is Downgraded As Carriers Subsidize iPhone Sales

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is considered to be the world’s most valuable company for a reason: they create and sell technology products like smartphone and tablets that exceed the expectations of consumers. Right now, they’re on top of it all but for how long? While BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk predicts that Apple will earn blowout earnings during the second quarter but he downgrade the stocks to neutral. Here is what he stated in a recent research report that was released on Monday:

We continue to maintain our view that Apple is the primary beneficiary of an accelerating growth trend in the global adoption of smartphones, considering global penetration of smartphones has not yet even reached 30%. However, given the run up in Apple’s stock and the consensus estimates, we think now is a good time to more carefully consider how it will capitalize on the next and likely much larger leg of growth in the industry and prepare for the inevitable bumps that may occur on the way. Subsidies by post-paid wireless operators have fueled the growth of Apple’s $600 iPhone since its inception” Piecyk wrote. “Even in the pre-paid dominant markets of China and Europe, heavily subsidized iPhone’s are available to users willing to sign up for a contract. Wireless operators have been happy to subsidize smartphones to new and existing customers in order to provide a lift to the average monthly bill (ARPU) of their customer base, a metric which had been falling for the past three decades.

Piecyk further elaborates that investors liked the inflection point ARPU but that the long term costs is now eating away profitability and stock performance. Some operators who don’t want to slow the pace allow users to upgrade subsidized phones within a year of a two-year contract. He summed it up by stating his expectation that iPhone sales will drop during Q3 to just 27.5 million units.

We all know that nothing lasts forever, and sooner or later, Apple will take a fall from their current standing. When and how remains to be seen.

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