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The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.



) --


recently announced its fourth quarter 2011 earnings, in which it mentioned that it lost about 700,000 subscribers, primarily because it is not selling


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iPhone. The company stated that the sequential and year-on-year increase in customer losses was due to intense competitive pressures from the launch of the iPhone 4S by three big carriers,


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, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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What is happening to T-Mobile now Sprint experienced before it added the iPhone to its smartphone portfolio. Sprint's subscriber losses improved after it started selling iPhone 4S in October last year. In the past though, the telecom companies have turned down Apple's offer because of the terms associated with it.

In its Q3 2011 earnings call, U.S. Cellular announced that it turned down Apple's offer because it did not agree with the terms set by Apple. For U.S. Cellular, the terms suggested the revenue and profit it would generate from selling the iPhone would not be sufficient to justify the subsidies it would have had to incur.

The base model of iPhone is sold for about $200 by the carriers in the U.S., but Apple charges around $600 for each iPhone sold. The balance of $400 to $450 is subsidized by the carriers upfront in return for a two-year contract with the subscriber, and during the course they hope to make their money back in service fees.

Our $550 price estimate for

Apple stock is about 5% above the current market price.



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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.