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Rumors have persisted that AT&T is surely due to lose its exclusivity contract this year with the iPhone, and that users of Verizon could have their own version. But a new report out today from Credit Suisse Group AG thinks that there's a 75 percent chance that the deal will last through 2011, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Whether or not this could be based off of Apple's giving Big Blue the thumbs up to carry the first data plan for the iPad, amidst other reassuring comments given to AT&T, is uncertain. But analysts Jonathan Chaplin and Bill Shope of Credit Suisse think the deal could go 12 to 18 months longer than what most investors anticipated.
A delay in picking up the iPhone could cost Verizon a chance to win over customers, and in turn give AT&T more time to fix gripes from customers about its network, that might have hurt sales, Chaplin had said.
"We don't comment on any of the details of our relationship with Apple, apart from saying we have a great relationship," said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T. Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman for Verizon also declined comment. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris also didn't immediately return a call seeking comment before the start of regular business hours.
Because of all this, the Credit Suisse also downgraded Verizon's stock to neutral from outperform. "In addition, our expectations for earnings per share growth at Verizon have also come down largely to disappointing wireline margin results. As such, Verizon no longer offers superior growth." As of mid-day Thursday, Verizon's stock was down 1.27%.
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