It certainly looks true that the iPhone is a “nightmare” for the carriers, as David Goldman of CNN Money suggests. But context is important. It’s a nightmare for their margins — it’s a dream from a product offering perspective.
A few other things here:
1) Boo-fucking-hoo. The carriers have raked consumers over the coals for years with things like SMS charges, which have a near-infinite margin.
2) This shows the position of power Apple has now. This is a direct result of going exclusive first with AT&T to ensure they got the deal they wanted. Once the iPhone took off and AT&T started stealing customers, it forced the other carriers to bend to the same deals.
3) This shows why the carriers need Android and are willing to spend a lot to promote it. All the OEMs besides Samsung are basically getting dicked over when it comes to making money off of Android devices, but the same is not true of the carriers. They love it.
4) Sadly, this will still end with the consumers getting screwed. To be able to pay the Apple subsidy and maintain their huge margins, carriers are going to continue to raise rates and/or put in ridiculous restrictions like this.