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Apple locked into AT&T exclusivity until 2010?

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Fri August 1, 2008

Apple Lock to ATT in 2010

Apple is bound to its exclusivity deal with AT&T until at least 2010, sources have allegedly told USA Today. The newspaper asserts that AT&T agreed to the large-scale subsidies on the iPhone 3G's pricing in exchange for a one-year extension on the provider's sole rights for the device line in the US, pushing it back from its original 2009 date. The extension is crucial for AT&T, which is the leader in an increasingly saturated market and sees the iPhone as a tool to convert customers from other networks.

The news on Friday would represent the first more definite timeframe attached to the agreement.

Under the original terms, Apple would have been free to sell the iPhone through T-Mobile USA next year as well as to consider developing a CDMA-based version that could be used with Sprint, Verizon and other predominantly North American carriers. Some potential customers have either refused to buy the iPhone or else resorted to unlocking first-generation models due to AT&T's coverage limitations or support.

Neither Apple nor AT&T has ever disclosed the actual expiry date of the exclusivity deal, though some had speculated the term could be as long as five years from the iPhone's initial launch. AT&T chief Randall Stephenson has only said that he and AT&T are "very happy" with the terms of the deal.

The new reported end date is potentially ideal for Apple given network deployments in the US. At present, the iPhone 3G would lose 3G access on T-Mobile's network, which has only just begun deploying any form of 3G cellular access and is currently limited to New York City. Verizon and its acquisition target Alltel will also both launch 4G service in earnest sometime in 2010 and will use Long Term Evolution as their standard, a format that will also be shared with AT&T and allow a future 4G-capable iPhone to run on either network.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +5

    locking in consumers

    Too bad AT&T couldn't sway customers to it's network via excellent customer service; a friendly, knowledgeable sales staff; non-predatory business practices and a product people really want to use...

  1. csimon2

    Junior Member

    Joined: Aug 2000

    +8

    Re: locking in consumers

    Not to defend ATT (I have TMobile and have been a satisfied customer for quite some time), but which carrier out there in the US doesn't do the same?

  1. scotte75ky

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    0

    AT&T

    If AT&T is half as bad as Cingular then I never want to have anything to do with them again. Cingular service sucked in my area. I've had Tmobile for several years now and have great service no matter what city I am in.

  1. pt123

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    0

    no AT&T for me

    I switched from AT&T to Verizon Wireless a while ago because I got too many dropped calls. Thanks but no AT&T for me.

  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2001

    +2

    And still...

    the iPhone is selling like hot cakes in spite of the at&t haters posting here and will easily meet the 10 miilion mark this year. Well boys, press your noses to the glass and dream. No iPhone for you!

  1. gskibum3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2006

    +5

    AT&T

    I had Verizon for probably 10 years. Loved the coverage but always hated the phones.

    I've had AT&T for 7 months now and I have a cool iPhone, but the coverage is so unbelievably bad I can't believe they can spew that "more bars in more places" marketing bunch of lies with a straight face.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +2

    Knock on wood

    ...but we switched from T-Mobile (after 6 years) to AT&T and the service has been stellar here in Los Angeles. Maybe I'm the only one but I haven't anything bad to say about AT&T (yet!). I was reluctant at first but finally capitulated when my wife wanted the 3G.

  1. WalterC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    0

    AT&T

    I use the iTouch for web/data & Verizon for cell (10 years) due to coverage (Central Calif.)
    Cingular(AT&T) have 'no bars' in the neighborhood. No 3G for quite a distance. Also, 'real-world', if you travel in the US, away from major cities, GSM is poor and almost non-existent. Too bad about the poor GSM, and/or the CDMA iPhone delay.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004

    0

    No Sale

    As long as I am forced to use a single company I will not purchase an iPhone. They don't care, but that is one less customer. Take away my choice, take away my business.

  1. candez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    0

    Must Escape the Deathstar

    I am curious, though, what happens on June 29, 2009, when I and about 1,000,000 other people are no longer contractually enslaved to AT&T's horrific reception and customer service. Will I be able to switch to another carrier? And if so, will I still be able to use visual voicemail and all the other iPhone features? (Gen1 iPhone)

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