Apple has always gone down the one handset/one provider route with its iPhone, and, until now, AT&T has been the exclusive provider of the smart phone in the US.
However, this exclusivity may soon come to an end, USA Today has said, reporting that sources close to the two firms say Verizon and Apple are in talks to bring the iPhone to another network for 2010.
Next year – 2010 – is when the exclusive AT&T deal with the iPhone ends, but this will not be as simple as making the iPhone available for another network: Apple will have to produce a version of the iPhone for a CDMA wireless network because it is currently optimised for AT&Ts GSM network.
The thing about the new deal is this: if it happens from 2010, Apple will presumably already have released the next-generation iPhone by this time, thus tying it into AT&Ts two-year contract for users. This may leave Verizon’s chance to get a foot hold in the iPhone market somewhat diminished.
On the other hand, some US markets, eg New York city, are stronger for Verizon than AT&T, with cellular coverage for the Verizon network considerably more reliable, and these markets will hold out for the Verizon iPhone if it comes along next year.
By Marie Boran