Verizon is widely expected to become the second U.S. carrier to offer the Apple iPhone 4 early next year, but that doesn't necessarily mean the other top carriers are also getting this very popular smartphone. According to one analyst, Sprint and T-Mobile customers may be out in the cold.
AT&T currently has exclusive rights to offer the iPhone in the United States, but numerous reports from a wide array of sources indicate that this is going to change soon. Verizon in the company mentioned most often in these unconfirmed reports, but the other two members of the Big Four carriers have also come up.
As Wu wrote in a note to investors:
"We are hearing that VZ [Verizon] does not want iPhone, the hottest selling smartphone, available on T-Mobile USA and/or Sprint and may be willing to pay for exclusivity to itself and AT&T."
Change Is Coming... Apparently
Back in 2005, Verizon and Apple were unable to come to an agreement that would have brought the iPhone to Verizon in 2007. Instead, it went to AT&T.
Negotiations between Apple and Verizon reportedly broke down over control -- Apple wanted to deal directly with iPhone users, leaving Verizon as mostly as just a pipe for wireless voice and data service. Apple also wanted Verizon to pay a high price for each unit.
Several years later, the strength of sales of Apple's smartphone have supposedly brought Verizon back to the negotiating table. According to the Kaufman Bros. analyst Wu:
"Times have changed. Apple is back in the driver's seat with a record 14.1 million iPhone shipments in the September quarter helping AT&T gain share against VZ [Verizon] over the last two quarters as Android starts to lose some of its luster (at least at VZ)."
Overview of the Apple iPhone 4
This smartphone has an 3.5-inch, 960 x 640 touchscreen, giving it a higher resolution display than any of its competitors. It also one of the first with a front-facing camera, allowing users to make video calls.
The iPhone 4 runs iOS 4.2, the latest version of Apple's operating system, on a 1 GHz Apple A4 processor.
There is a large array of third-party software available: 300,000 apps at last count. A good percentage of these are games, but there are also productivity apps as well as a wide range of utilities.
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