Back in March, a very tantalizing rumor began weaving its way across the Web: The Apple iPhone, long tethered exclusively to AT&T, would soon become available on the Verizon network. A Verizon iPhone? Exciting!
Well, hey – not so fast. According to one Wall Street analyst, Apple has now extended its exclusive partnership with AT&T for at least six more months, meaning that Verizon users probably won't get their mitts on an iPhone before 2010 is out.
Marshall said that AT&T agreed to discount the wireless data plans on the new Apple iPad; in exchange, Apple gave AT&T "a six-month extension on the iPhone exclusive." Neither Apple nor AT&T have responded to requests for comment.
Marshall's analysis comes weeks after a major dust-up over a lost iPhone 4G – and weeks before Apple is expected to make some sort of announcement about new edition of the top-selling iPhone. Several tech insiders have predicted that the iPhone 4G will launch on Verizon and AT&T. But if Marshall is correct, iPhone users will be stuck with AT&T, a network which has struggled to keep pace with heavy iPhone call volume.
AT&T has ample reason to fight off a Verizon iPhone.
In a recent survey by ChangeWave, approximately half of Verizon's current customers said they would switch to a Verizon iPhone, if one became available. A Verizon iPhone would mean that Verizon users would no longer have to switch to AT&T to get the phone. Conversely, it would mean that disgruntled AT&T customers could switch to Verizon to get better service.