Verizon feature phone users could boost iPhone activations by 19 million

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Analyst William Power of R.W. Baird & Co. is making a bold prediction on Verizon iPhone sales. While other analysts and Verizon itself is predicting a conservative 11 million units sold in the upcoming year, Power is projecting a whopping 19 million in sales for the Apple-branded smartphone from feature phone users alone. This prediction is based on a survey of 1,000 people that was conducted to gauge the interest in the Verizon iPhone.

Of feature phone users at Verizon, 11 percent said they would definitely buy the Verizon iPhone, while 18 percent said they would probably buy the Apple smartphone. Combined, this 30 percent could potentially contribute 19 million new iPhone activations for the wireless carrier.

The survey also revealed that 25 percent of smartphone owners on Verizon will definitely or probably purchase the iPhone when it becomes available in February. This would add another five million activations and would bring the final tally to a whopping 24 million in sales.

Powers does not take into account contract end dates, and not all of these 19 million feature phone subscribers will be eligible for upgrade in 2011. Even if you consider the worst case scenario of 2-year contracts and extend this 24 million over 2 years, these numbers are still impressive, especially for Apple.

Apple will sell an additional 24 million iPhones, and Verizon will lock 24 million of its subscribers into new contracts. This 24 million estimate does not include customers from other carriers like AT&T and Sprint who may jump ship to snag an iPhone on the nation's most reliable network.

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