NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Apple's (AAPL) (Stock Quote: AAPL) path to U.S. smartphone dominance may take an abrupt detour as the iPhone's next destination may be Deutsche Telekom's (DT) T-Mobile and not Verizon (VZ) (Stock Quote: VZ).
(AAPL) (DT) (VZ) AT&T (T) will lose its exclusive agreement to sell the iPhone sometime next year and Verizon has been the leading candidate to take on the popular Apple phone next, but Thomas Weisel analyst Doug Reid disputes that assumption.
(AAPL) (DT) (VZ) (T) Reid points to the growing division between warring wireless camps. Verizon and Google (GOOG) represent one side with the Motorola (MOT)
"Apple wants to move away from exclusivity; T-Mobile would achieve this for Apple in the U.S.," Reid says. Notably, Apple already sells phones through Germany's T-Mobile unit.
(AAPL) (DT) (VZ) (T) (GOOG) (MOT) The problem, however, is after conquering AT&T (Stock Quote: T) (AAPL) (DT) (VZ) (T) (GOOG) (MOT) , the second largest wireless player, Apple needs a way to reach a bigger block of potential users. With 71 million customers, Verizon is the largest wireless player and one of the last large untapped sales opportunities for Apple. T-Mobile, by contrast, is a big step down with only half as many users as Verizon.