Sprint offering the iPhone 5 with an unlimited data plan is the latest rumor, courtesy of Bloomberg. If true, that might give it a leg up over Verizon and AT&T.
Sprint will offer the iPhone with
unlimited data service plans, according to Bloomberg.
That could give the carrier a
competitive edge over AT&T and Verizon, both of which already offer the
iPhone. "The advantage of unlimited is it's cheaper for big users,"
Bank of Montreal analyst Peter Rhamey told the news agency
, which cited unnamed "people
familiar with the matter" for its original information.
Neither Apple nor Sprint has confirmed
that the latter will carry the iPhone, despite the steady drumbeat of rumor
building for the past month or so. Apple is widely expected to release the
next-generation iPhone, which the press has dubbed "iPhone 5,"
sometime in either September or October. The Bloomberg report suggests
mid-October as the timeframe.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has
estimated that giving Sprint the iPhone would boost the device's overall sales
by 6 million units. A Sprint iPhone would also leave T-Mobile as the only U.S.
carrier without an Apple phone in its device portfolio, although the latter's
parent company, Deutsche Telekom, has offered the iPhone for years in Germany
(and is allowing customers to preorder the iPhone 5, although without any
mention of a release date or device specs).
Rumors suggest the iPhone 5 will
include a larger screen and faster processor, along with an 8-megapixel camera
and possibly a redesigned body. Some analysts have theorized that Apple also
intends to release a line of low-cost iPhones, with an eye toward combating the
number of inexpensive Google Android smartphones on the market.
Apple also faces significant
competition from Android devices on the high end of the market, a situation
that's triggered a series of lawsuits against rival manufacturers. Samsung and
Apple are locked in courtroom battles around the world, for example, with each
side claiming patent violations by the other; for its part, Apple accuses
Samsung of outright copying its designs.
If T-Mobile ends up acquired by
AT&T, its customers could inherit the ability to purchase the iPhone-but
federal regulators seem intent on denying that acquisition. That would leave
T-Mobile with the sole option of negotiating directly with Apple to carry the
iPhone, a deal that would almost certainly evolve on Apple's
Apple is undergoing a seismic
transition with the resignation of longtime CEO Steve Jobs, who handed the
reins to former COO Tim Cook. At this point, analysts generally view the
disruption from the transition as minimal, at least when it comes to the
product pipeline. Rumors also suggest Apple will release the next iPad sometime
early next year.
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