Report: AT&T Losing iPhone Exclusivity on Wednesday
Posted 01/25/2010 at 7:22am | by J.R. Bookwalter
The news this week can’t all be tablet-related, such as this nugget of rumor that leaked out over the weekend: AT&T may be losing its iPhone exclusivity come Wednesday.
That’s the news that’s fit to print from HotHardware.com, who is using information obtained by “AT&T insiders” to reveal that the telco giant may finally lose their unholy grasp on the iPhone come Wednesday -- presumably a “one more thing” at the San Francisco media event presumed to unveil Apple’s tablet.
In what would surely be a sigh of relief heard ‘round the country, HotHardware.com proposes a number of reasons why this might be a good idea for everyone, including Apple, the consumer (that’s you!) and yes, even for AT&T.
“Inside of AT&T, we are hearing that the iPhone is causing more trouble than ever before,” the tech blog writes. “On some level, having the iPhone is hurting AT&T’s image. Because they are the only company to carry it, and it’s such a data hog, it’s largely to blame for AT&T’s network troubles. We don’t remember hearing about AT&T’s ‘horrible network’ before the iPhone -- do you?”
Of course, few smartphones were so data-intensive prior to the iPhone, and the ones that were -- primarily Blackberry phones and Windows Mobile devices -- were nowhere near as universally popular with the common man as Apple’s handset. Taken in that light, it could be said that the iPhone has actually exposed the weaknesses in AT&T’s network -- and may now be on track to do the same for other telcos.
It’s widely believed that Verizon will be the next U.S. carrier to score the iPhone, although such a move would require new hardware to support its CDMA-based network -- and the next iPhone may not appear until early summer, its traditional debut date. The only other GSM-based U.S. carrier is T-Mobile, whose 3G service is also not compatible with the current iPhone.
So while many potential iPhone buyers cite AT&T as a reason they don’t want to take a bite of Apple’s handset fruit, even if AT&T loses their exclusivity as early as this week, it may not matter -- for now.