All indications are that Apple and AT&T have a loyal and cozy partnership with the iPhone. But sporadic reports suggest a crack in the armor.
The latest is a tech blog that reports a commenter, supposedly a Best Buy employee from Pennsylvania, who said, "Sprint will be carrying the iPhone, beginning in June. They've begun to grease the wheels for advertising."
The commenter then cited rumors that Apple made a deal with AT&T to continue its U.S. iPhone contract in exchange for iPad Wi-Fi coverage with no contract as Apple launched its groundbreaking tablet device.
4G Up and Running
Sprint Nextel is the only carrier that currently has a 4G network up and running, so a compatible iPhone could potentially provide better connectivity and faster data speeds than AT&T currently offers. Published reports said AT&T has blocked employees from taking vacation time in June and the company has quietly confirmed that an iPhone release is imminent.
Apple didn't respond to our request for comment in time for publication, and a spokesperson for Sprint said "we don't comment on rumor and speculation."
According to Information Week, Sprint Chief Financial Officer Robert Brust recently told investors that the company, which didn't have much success with Palm's Pre phones, longs for an iPhone deal. "We'd love to have it," he reportedly said, while acknowledging that it was unlikely to happen soon.
Current Analysis consumer-devices analyst Avi Greengart said any report of a Sprint iPhone is greatly exaggerated. "I think that all these rumors are equally credible," he said cynically.
But analyst Gerry Purdy of MobilTrax said since only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of AT&T users have bought an iPhone, it may be only a matter of time before Apple seeks out other U.S. carriers.
"I think it is in Apple's best interests to have a CDMA offering, whether it is Sprint or Verizon or both," Purdy said.
Acknowledging that Apple may have renegotiated with AT&T to extend their contract because of market dynamics, Purdy said it "seems destined" for Apple to add new carriers because of "billions of dollars of marketing opportunities out there."
Whither the 3G?
Meanwhile, amid reports that Wal-Mart is offering a rock-bottom $97 price for the 16GB iPhone 3GS, Apple has removed the "select" button from the iPhone 3G in the Apple Store, a sign that it is winding down sales of the older device with 4G on the horizon.
"You've seen that happen with prior products when there is significant volume and models change; you want to flush out the inventory through the channel so you don't have the inventory coming back," said Purdy. "In Apple's case, it would mean taking back their own inventory from themselves."
Apple's store sells the 16GB iPhone 3GS for $199.
Posted: 2010-07-09 @ 4:14pm PT
I HOPE SPRINT GETS THE IPHONE.... I HAVE BEEN WANTING ONE SINCE I FOUND OUT IT WAS GOING TO ALL CARRIERS....
Posted: 2010-06-27 @ 10:07am PT
Sprint is the best plan to have! It's way cheaper than all other plans for internet.
Posted: 2010-06-15 @ 10:21pm PT
SPRINT HAS TO GET THE iPHONE. No other network works in Hollywood CA.
Posted: 2010-06-02 @ 10:15am PT
[the only thing bad about at@t uverse: if u don't pay the bill, they shut u off.]
PAY YOUR BILL!
Posted: 2010-05-28 @ 8:43am PT
No! Sprint is working well in my area. Add all those iphones and it will slow down just like at&t's network did!
Posted: 2010-05-28 @ 6:47am PT
"Sprint Nextel is the only carrier that currently has a 4G network Relevant Products/Services up and running,"
What a load of bollocks - Sprint has nothing but its aging EVDO network. Its WiMax-based holding, Clearwire which has sporadic coverage here and there, pretty much negligible nationwide. Meanwhile T-Mobile already lit up the Northeast with over 10Mbit HSPA+ network speed, about twice as fast as the so-called 4G, and is busy enabling it everywhere else in the next 4-5 months.
Posted: 2010-05-28 @ 6:14am PT
the only thing bad about at@t uverse: if u don't pay the bill, they shut u off.