Print 12 comment(s) - last by InfinityzeN.. on Aug 31 at 11:31 AM

According to Reuters, Sprint may also be the only carrier to offer an unlimited plan for the iPhone 5

Since the original iPhone's launch in 2007, AT&T had exclusive rights to Apple's mobile gadget. But in February 2011, Verizon stole some of the spotlight when it started selling the iPhone 4 and now, Sprint will be jumping on the Apple bandwagon as well for the iPhone 5 release this October.

Earlier reports indicated a September launch, but according to The Wall Street Journal, the confirmed launch date is now mid October. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint will all offer the newest member of the iPhone family at that time.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. carrier, has been trailing along behind Verizon and AT&T for years. At the end of the second quarter 2011, Verizon had 106 million subscribers while AT&T had 99 million and Sprint had 52 million. Sprint's messy merger with Nextel in 2005 certainly didn't help its position either. In addition, both rivals offering the iPhone gave those companies a little extra edge that Sprint will now obtain in October.

According to Richard Doherty, director of the research firm Envisioneering Group, the iPhone 5 will increase "foot traffic" in stores and encourage customers to upgrade.

"Sprint needs it," said Doherty. "There are a lot of families that will embrace the iPhone."

Sprint could even have an upper hand over its competitors in one crucial area, according to Reuters -- unlimited use data services. AT&T no longer offers unlimited plans for the iPhone, and while Verizon did have unlimited iPhone plans during the first six months or so of selling the device, these unlimited services were axed in July. But Sprint does offer unlimited data plans, and an unlimited iPhone plan could be just what the company needs to thicken the competition. 

"Combined with the company's marketing focus on its unlimited plan, iPhone would drive a rebound in subscriber growth," said Michael Nelson, a Mizuho analyst. 

While offering the iPhone could prove to be advantageous for Sprint, there is a downfall. Operators usually pay Apple higher subsidies for the iPhone than for most other devices, meaning higher costs associated with offering Apple's phone. Nelson estimates it could have a "near term negative impact" to margins. Furthermore, this could be tough for investors who see these increased handset subsidies as an issue, but the subscriber growth could also offset these costs in the long term. 

With Sprint selling the iPhone alongside Verizon and AT&T, the No. 4 U.S. carrier, T-Mobile USA Inc., will be left in the dust. But T-Mobile says it isn't too worried about selling the iPhone because it's focusing on Android devices. In addition, Sprint offering the iPhone could possibly mean more leverage for AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile for $39 billion.

The iPhone 5 is expected to look very similar to the iPhone 4, but will possess a new dual-core A5 ARMv7 CPU (which can be found in the iPad 2) and an 8-megapixel camera image sensor for the rear camera. The release of the iPhone 5 will be coupled with the launch of iOS 5, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system.

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They better keep data unlimited
By quiksilvr on 8/24/2011 10:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to be seriously pissed if Sprint uses this phone as justification to tier data like other cell phone companies did.

RE: They better keep data unlimited
By cknobman on 8/24/2011 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed as the only reason I use Sprint and have a smartphone is because of the unlimited data.

If Sprint removes unlimited data I am gone in a heartbeat to a small local carrier that offers unlimited. If I cant find one of those then the smartphone can kiss my @ss I dont need it that badly.

By therealnickdanger on 8/24/2011 10:53:50 AM , Rating: 2
I still have my old clamshell phones laying around so if it comes down to it, I'll just sell my smartphone and go back to basic WAP sites and T9.

By Mitch101 on 8/24/2011 11:00:11 AM , Rating: 3
There are poor souls who cant leave Apple because they fear losing their iTunes & app collections. Add in all the other carriers killing off unlimited plans and going to data tiers. It only makes sense for Sprint to do this and I suspect they will get a lot of people.

Sprint has been every bit as reliable as Verizon for me I would even dare to say its been better than AT&T where I'm at. The phone plays a major role too Im a Windows Phone 7 guy and I haven't been able to hold it wrong yet. ;)

By Commodus on 8/24/2011 10:52:09 AM , Rating: 3
Sprint is charging a premium on data precisely to make sure the data stays unlimited.

Remember, it's not the iPhone that is making AT&T and Verizon cap their plans; Verizon was talking about eventually capping before it even made the iPhone public. It's the overall smartphone rush they use to justify it. Technically, Android devices use more data on average than iPhones do.

Destination Sprint: July 2012
By lawrance on 8/24/2011 11:26:36 AM , Rating: 2
I left Sprint for AT&Terrible because of the iPhone. I would love to be able to go back to Sprint. Especially if they include texting in their plans. I refuse to pay extra $ for text "data" when I'm already paying for a data plan! How this is legal I'll never know.

RE: Destination Sprint: July 2012
By Dr of crap on 8/24/2011 12:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
Come on over to Sprint - the waters fine!
Yes, the unlimited means everything is unlimited - even texting.

I, as posted above, hope they do not have to put limits on with the big increase in customers with this annoucement.

It's time for the big 3 plus one ( T-Mobile ). And I hope T-Mobile, stays as the lower cost cell carrier. They could be bought by someone other than AT&T and then keep the low price point. Don't we need that? I say yes.

RE: Destination Sprint: July 2012
By mcnabney on 8/24/2011 3:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
The unlimited offerings on Sprint have to go away. Sprint has lost money every quarter for over 5 years now (since Nextel) and the shareholders are getting tired of underwriting the giveaway. Believe it or not, running a wireless network is really expensive. Sprint will either change their ways or be acquired and then change their ways. Either way, the buffet is ending.

RE: Destination Sprint: July 2012
By name99 on 8/24/2011 3:16:45 PM , Rating: 1
The end of unlimited data is probably inevitable.

Where Sprint COULD distinguish themselves from ATT, picking up goodwill while not losing money, is offering a GSM iPhone that is NOT carrier locked so that it can easily be used overseas (on changing the SIM) by travelers.

Let's see if they have the brains to do this...

Text/Talk Simultaneously
By KeithGP on 8/31/2011 9:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
I'm interested in jumping ship to Sprint as well, however, the only reason that I stay with AT&T is because I can text and talk simultaneously. It may seem like a small thing to some but it is the feature that I like the most. Is Sprint's network capable of that?

RE: Text/Talk Simultaneously
By InfinityzeN on 8/31/2011 11:31:00 AM , Rating: 2
Only with a 4G phone that has a 4G connection. If you are connected to 4G, then you can use voice and data (text) at the same time.

By Jay2tall on 8/29/2011 1:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
While I am not a fan of any apple product, I do understand the iPhone appeal. I am a fan of Android, but before that, there was nothing comparable except the iPhone. Anyway, whatever. I would like to add my $.02 to the Sprint unlimited plan conversation. Beginning Jan '11 Sprint has added a Premium Data plan that is required for all Smartphones on top of their unlimited plans. I know this because I changed my plan the other evening and added a line for my fiance. This required an extra $10 per/mo charge for her line since it was a smartphone. All currently activated phones will not see this until a new smart phone is activated on the account. So the 1500 minute Family Unlimited Plan for $129.99 w/ 2 smart phones is now $149.99. This is still probably a better deal than any other carrier regardless. Unlimited data, unlimited messaging, Free Mobile to Mobile on any carrier, off-peak from 7pm-7am. I don't worry about overages.... EVER.

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