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AT&T losing iPhone exclusivity on Wednesday?

updated 11:15 am EST, Sun January 24, 2010

Rumor has AT&T reducing Apple dependence

AT&T's lock on the iPhone could fall as soon as Apple's special event on Wednesday, a contentious rumor claims. A purported contact within the carrier says exclusivity should end along with the January 27th date. The tipster doesn't say who would join AT&T in supporting the iPhone, though Verizon has often been cited as the most likely pick, in part for the large subscriber base as well as the frequently cited network strength.

Direct evidence isn't immediately provided. Possible signs of this have shown up in a screen capture sent to Electronista with hints that more would be revealed soon, but even if real would not necessarily guarantee day-and-date availability. Apple has been known to launch out-of-schedule minor iPhone updates but has usually reserved major news for WWDC in the summer.

The HotHardware contact does, however, outline an AT&T strategy that the company has indirectly confirmed itself. The company would "compensate" for losing sole rights to the iPhone by carrying smartphones on platforms it has previously ignored. The carrier has already said it would offer several new smartphones in the first half of the year that include five Android devices as well as Palm's webOS phones, most likely GSM versions of the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. It's also noted anecdotally that AT&T has lately deemphasized its exclusivity and has instead focused on attacking Verizon.

Internally, AT&T is reportedly still frustrated with the reputation it has garnered through its network problems and may actually be willing to end exclusivity simply to offload the more publicly hostile customers to Verizon. It's hinted that some of the complaints may stem from the iPhone having a less than ideal transition from 3G to GSM when 3G isn't ideal. Nearly all of AT&T's upgrade efforts in recent months have focused on adding either 850MHz 3G or improving 3G capacity behind the scenes.

Most pundits expect Apple to focus primarily if not exclusively on a tablet device at its event on the 27th, but this could include the option of Verizon for 3G data in addition to AT&T and would open the door to other handhelds on the same network.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +5

    Yeah, I'd love to see an iPhone flood

    and eventually see the iPhone outselling the BlackBerry in the U.S. for a least a couple of quarters.

  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    +6

    Move to Verizon

    And I'll dump ATT as fast as they can process the number move.

  1. emig647

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2009

    +2

    I'll move to verizon...

    I'm sick of at&t... i'd definitely move to verizon.

  1. MiMiC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +1

    Price, Price, Price

    I have not love for AT&T, but Cingular I did, so whomever has the best price shall win. I also will pick up an iPhone for mom when someone offers a non-data plan, or very reduces plan for casual users.

    Verizon, Sprint, or whomever!

  1. MiMiC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    -4

    Price, Price, Price

    I have not love for AT&T, but Cingular I did, so whomever has the best price shall win. I also will pick up an iPhone for mom when someone offers a non-data plan, or very reduces plan for casual users.

    Verizon, Sprint, or whomever!

  1. mozart11

    Junior Member

    Joined: Aug 2000

    +4

    comment title

    Now I'm confused. Handing off from 3G to GSM? Isn't this one and the same? If not how does one know when on GSM?

  1. George3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +6

    I'll stay with AT&T for now

    As a stock holder I want to see as many carriers with the iPhone as possible. I understand the AT&T deal (no one else would take the chance - so bravo AT&T) but more carriers means more people buy the iPhone and the migration from Windows continues as more people get used to using Apple products as they become less bias towards Apple.

  1. George3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +4

    rather...

    less "negatively biased towards Apple"

  1. Meovv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    -1

    Compensate

    If AT&T loses the iPhone I will switch to another smartphone and stay with AT&T.

    Not

  1. Wingsy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    +9

    Verizon Drops Em Too

    @ I'll move to verizon

    Been there done that. Had so many dropped calls when I was with Verizon that they offered to let me out of my contract with no termination fee, and a Verizon tower is less than 1/2 mile from me. It was terrible. Now with ATT (and also a tower 1/2 mile away) I used to get 2-3 drops per month but within the past 2 months, I think I've had 2 dropped.

    The grass is not always greener on the other side.

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