AT&T may lose its exclusive rights to the iPhone on Jan. 27, according to one published report. Whether it happens this week or later this year, though, AT&T will have five new Android phones, including Dell's Mini 3, to fall back on.
Is Jan. 27 the day Apple introduces its anticipated tablet
- and AT&T's exclusive relationship with Apple's
iPhone comes to an end?
According to Hot Hardware
which cites an "inside source," the latter is seeming likely
- though news of which additional carrier or carriers will gain
access to the iPhone is still unknown.
Verizon Wireless has been rumored for some time to be on
line for an iPhone - a
scenario that analyst have called a positive one for Apple
others have said that Verizon
may also be first in line for the Apple tablet.
The move would entail Apple releasing either a CDMA-based
version of the iPhone, or a single, updated iPhone that could run on both
Were AT&T to lose its exclusive iPhone contract, it
could potentially make up some business with the five
new Android phones
that, at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, it
announced it will be releasing in the first half of the year.
The Android phones will come from HTC, Motorola and Dell
- making AT&T the first U.S. carrier to offer a Dell smartphone.
of Dell's Mini 3 are currently available on China Mobile and on Brazil's
The end of the exclusivity contract could potentially also
lighten the criticisms lobbed at AT&T,
which has seemed to struggle to meet the data-devouring needs of its iPhone
It's been said that the Apple,
and not AT&T's network, is actually to blame for some iPhone service
, though AT&T has stoically kept mum about this.
"It could potentially take the weight off their
shoulders," Ken Hyers, an analyst with Technology Business Research,
agreed, adding that the network issues associated with the iPhone aren't
all AT&T's fault.
"But whether or not the exclusivity contract ends this
week or this summer, those customers are still going to be with AT&T for
some time, since they signed two-year contracts. Any problems are going to be
ongoing," Hyers told eWEEK.
He added that, should an additional carrier get access to
the iPhone, changes to the AT&T network won't be immediately
noticeable, buts changes to AT&T's sales numbers will. With all the
news about AT&T's service issues, consumers who can get the iPhone on
a different network may finally make the move.
"The iPhone has been very good for AT&T,
though," said Hyers. "It will be interesting to follow their
subscriber numbers once the exclusivity contract ends."