Verizon Could Face Up to $14 Billion in Unsold iPhone Purchase Commitments for 2013

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Bloomberg yesterday reported on a research note from analyst Craig Moffett pointing out that Verizon could potentially face a massive bill from Apple of up to $14 billion this year based on current iPhone sales rates and the carrier's commitment to purchase a minimum number of iPhones from Apple.
    Apple routinely requires new iPhone carriers to commit to purchasing a certain number of iPhones over a period of years, a requirement that has led some carriers to balk at offering the device.

    As Moffett points out, Apple's contract with Verizon requires the carrier to purchase more than twice as many iPhone this year as it did last year. During the first quarter of 2013, Verizon activated four million iPhones on its network, a figure representing roughly $2.5 billion in hardware value at Apple's average selling price of about $613 per unit.

    While the first quarter may have been a somewhat slower one for the iPhone at Verizon following the iPhone 5 launch in September 2012, it only represented a 25% increase in units over the first quarter of 2012, indicating that the carrier is indeed well behind pace for meeting its purchase requirements for 2013.

    Amounts in millions of dollars (Source: Moffett Research, company reports)
    Apple is expected to introduce an upgraded iPhone 5S later this year, with a lower-cost plastic iPhone also apparently in the works, but it seems unlikely that those launches will be able to generate the massive increase in sales volume needed at Verizon to meet the carrier's contract requirements.

    Moffett notes that it is unlikely Apple will require Verizon to pay the full amount of any shortfall this year, particularly if it reaches the $12-14 billion amount estimated by Moffett, but that any renegotiations will likely see Apple extracting some concessions from Verizon as the iPhone maker seeks to hold other carriers to their commitments.

    Update: Nomura analyst Stuart Jeffrey has released his own note examining the situation and concurs with Moffett that Apple and Verizon are in a difficult spot. Verizon disclosed at the end of its 2012 financial statements that it holds $23.5 billion in purchase commitments for 2013, with Moffett and Jeffrey both believing that the iPhone accounts for the vast majority of that amount.

    Jeffrey notes that Verizon could still satisfy its obligation by making a massive advance purchase of iPhones for 2014 at the end of 2013, although such a purchase would obviously have an effect on any purchase requirements to be built into a renewal contract with Apple. Alternatively, Apple could simply allow Verizon to roll over its commitment into 2014 in order to prevent Verizon having to make a massive expenditure at the of the 2013, although such an allowance would undermine Apple's minimum purchase agreements with other carriers.

    Article Link: Verizon Could Face Up to $14 Billion in Unsold iPhone Purchase Commitments for 2013
  2. macrumors 68020


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2011
  4. macrumors 6502a

    May 31, 2006
    wouldn't the release of the 5S create even more sales? It's understandable how sales of the older phones are slow...
  5. macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    Suddenly t-mobile's jump thing makes a lot of sense. Gotta get through that inventory.
  6. macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2010
    How is that?

    Read the thing through, not just the headline, and you'll begin to realize why analysts have a worse reputation that lawyers or politicians!
  7. macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    Yes, but the point is that they're trending behind their projections. They had already baked in continuing increases in demand for subsequent iPhones and it's falling short of expectations.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2011
    karma verizon!!!!!!!! learn to release phones when all the other carriers due. maybe you will get more customers...
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2007
    And the geniuses keep training to push their employees to sell non iPhones....
  10. macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    Uhhhh did you read the article?
  11. CJM
    macrumors 65816


    May 7, 2005
    Well no carrier will agree to a similar purchase order in the future, that's for sure.
  12. macrumors regular


    Apr 25, 2013
    Vacaville, CA
    They were late into the game and bit off more than they could chew. Oh well.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2007
    They might as well offer deep discounts on the iPhones if they are going to loose that much money. I'm sure Verizon would prefer to give the money to their customers rather than to Apple.

    And Apple may not like the deep discounts on their flagship product so Verizon may be able to extract some concessions from Apple
  14. macrumors regular

    May 13, 2013
    I can see things like this and Apple going to other carriers allowing the carriers saying FU to Apple on its minimum purchase agreement.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 10, 2012
    Wasn't Verizon one of the carriers offering its sales folks bigger incentives to sell anything but the iPhone, such that these folks started steering even iphone intenders to other brands?

    Kinda schizophrenic if you ask me.
  16. macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    Um, the article states that "The sales shortfall bolsters analysts’ projection for Apple to report a 22 percent decline in net income to $6.87 billion in the third fiscal quarter, according to the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg."

    I mean, I hate analyst predictions on rumors but a 22% decline in net income is not exactly good news, however you cut it. And the analysts were quite accurate with their Q2 '13 projection of a revenue decline.

    I'm not saying the sky is falling. Just that it's hard to construe this as good news in the long run for AAPL. They have a lot more tricks up their sleeve, I'm sure. But they better start capitalizing on some of those.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2007
    Put the blame on Verizon

    If this is true, Verizon should be to blame. Every time you go to a Verizon store the sales people are never pushing the iPhone. If you ask about the iPhone, they immediately try to get you to buy a different phone. Their sales reps are obviously incentivized to sale other phones, not iPhones.
  18. macrumors 68040

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    Anyone else expecting to see a huge iPhone advertising push from Verizon?
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2007
    I'm seeing a buy one, get five free promotion. :D
  20. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2009
    Northern, VA
    Just shows that there are many more options for consumers and they are taking advantage of some of the other devices. Apple needs to refresh the iPhone more often IMO.
  21. macrumors 68020

    May 23, 2011
    There is a God afterall!

    Verizon is pure evil! I'm glad they have to pay up
  22. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    But this 22% decline is basically a rumor, no? Also, AAPL is up 7% for the month of July so this report at least doesn't seem to be negatively impacting the stock.
  23. macrumors 68020

    May 20, 2011
    As a company, if your product can't sell in my store, I shouldn't be held liable. Now if I'm purposely not selling or prohibiting sales of it, then I have no case.

    It seems what Verizon is doing is preventing sales of the iPhone, so Apple should push to get the money.

    However, I feel Verizon may just drop the iPhone completely. Heck, I'd even disable any off-contract iPhones on the network too. Yeah it may piss off customers, but it'll make Apple give in too.
  24. macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Yes. Verizon thought they could sell more than they have been. This isn't good for either Apple or Verizon. Ideally Verizon would be selling everything they committed to and there would be no 'fine'.
  25. macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2009

    Wow, maybe it is time to make your phones capable of talk and data. (Granted, heard it will be available with next phone)

    This is comical hearing that they were trying to push people to other phones.

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