There are rumors circulating that a Sprint insider has suggested that the company will acquire the iPhone 5 this fall and begin selling the devices in October of this year. There is also information that Sprint may offer the iPhone 4 at a discounted price at the same time as well.
Currently, Sprint is the #3 wireless carrier trailing after competitors AT&T and Verizon. The recent announcement of a possible merger between AT&T and wireless carrier T-Mobile has Sprint scrambling to find a way to remain competitive. Sprint, who has more than 52 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2011, is currently third in the lineup of U.S. mobile phone carriers. AT&T comes in #2 with over 99 million subscribers and Verizon holds the top spot with over 106 million.
AT&T has exclusive rights to the iPhone when it was originally released in 2007. Verizon managed to swing a deal with Apple in February of this year to start selling the popular smartphones. Sprint, after complaining about lagging sales due to not being able to sell the device, seems to have managed to land their own deal for the iPhones. Seems like all three carriers will be competing in mid-October when the new iPhone 5 launches. Sprint getting the iPhone may even help AT&T’s case in antitrust court as the government tries to decide whether the T-Mobile merger is too much of a monopoly for the company.
The iPhone 5 is reported to be similar to its predecessor, iPhone 4. Differences are that the fifth version of this popular phone will be thinner, lighter, and have a better camera and smoother operating system. The iPhone 4 retails for $199 for 16GB device ($299 for the 32GB) and requires a contract with a wireless carrier to purchase. This makes the device much more pricey than its Android competition, but lovers of the iPhone have proven that matters little to them. Rumors also abound that Apple is creating a more affordable iPhone, comparable to iPhone 4, to reach the sector of the market that wants the device but can’t or won’t pay the high dollar figure.
The information leaked has not been confirmed about the Sprint and iPhone partnership. A memo released to Sprint employees this month tells staff not to speculate about the iPhone. If customers are to ask whether or not Sprint will be selling the device, employees are to mention that they’ve seen the reports but have no information. They are not to discuss the iPhone further than that, even with customers. This memo has just added more fuel to the fire as the mobile industry assumes that Sprint not taking a position is verification that the gossip is accurate.