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  (Source: The Huffington Post)
Apple may still try to squirm its way out of exclusivity

Those who follow the smartphone industry knew that Apple and AT&T had a very tight contract with the iPhone which has compelled the electronics maker to stay AT&T exclusive to date.  However, it was unclear just how long that contract was good for, until now. According to unsealed court documents uncovered by Engadget, AT&T has exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the U.S. until 2012.

The documents come from a California antitrust class action lawsuit.  The plaintiffs claim that Apple attempted to create an illegal monopoly in 2007 when it failed to reveal that the secret deal would make it impossible for them to transfer their phones to other carriers in 2 years, without unlocking.

The case also accuses Apple of antitrust violations for blocking third party applications, a concern that still exists thanks to Apple's blocking of Flash and Flash ports, actions the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is currently examining for antitrust violations.

The court documents read:

The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not 'secret' either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the iPhone's release – stating, "AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world."
"[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T's] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years... Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power...

While the contract with AT&T is surely tight, it's possible Apple could payoff AT&T to cancel the contract, attempt to amend it, or declare it breached and fight it out in court.  There's a very real possibility, though, that it will simply stick it out till 2012, which would mean that 3 more years, and the next two iPhone models would be AT&T exclusive (in the U.S.).

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RE: 4G iPhone
By mcnabney on 5/10/2010 9:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
They are at least a year, likely more, behind Verizon. Sprint is off to an earlier start, but Verizon has the cash to roll LTE across most of their network in short-order while Sprint is spending what little money they have on select markets.

RE: 4G iPhone
By TheRequiem on 5/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: 4G iPhone
By retrospooty on 5/10/2010 10:04:54 PM , Rating: 1
wow, very angrily pedantic arent you...

Anyhow, your creepyness aside, Sprint may have a lead in this now, but they will find a way to blow it, and Verizon will still be the better solution.

RE: 4G iPhone
By Mitch101 on 5/12/2010 8:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
This Press Release to me is like Apple waving a red flag saying hey you can take another chunk of our market share if you made droid based iPod units. Oh Wait we shouldnt have acknowledged that.

RE: 4G iPhone
By Chaser on 5/11/2010 7:31:36 AM , Rating: 3
Ok so how's their 3G coverage? Please.

Since you didn't site your facts I'll post some too. Most investors with expertise in communications are betting their money on LTE.

As far as some other company blah blah one cares. This is a Sprint initiative and until I see some Clearwire commercials, well talk to the hand. One simply needs to look at Sprint's 3G network coverage maps, even their regular phone service coverage maps to see that Sprint's service is abysmal compared to Verizon.

Why will Verizon's deployment of LTE take longer? Because Verizon doesn't **** around. When they deploy new technology they are slow and methodical to ensure they uphold their legacy of the BEST coverage of any carrier in the U.S. Which is what they will do with LTE.
Sprint is marketing these gimmicks to slow the hemmoraging of its subscribers to other networks. Clearwire may have "billions" but Sprint is in trouble.

RE: 4G iPhone
By semiconshawn on 5/11/2010 9:46:05 AM , Rating: 3
Yey verizon, twice as much money so I can have 3g in whashatoe kansas...neat. Maybe if I was a truck driver or salesman. And poor under funded wimax clear how will they ever make it with broke investers like intel shoveling billions of dollars into them? As for LTE thats awesome, show me where I can sign up and use it. Today. Cause I use Clear right now and it works great ever tried it? oh no wait you read some tech articles and regurgitated someone elses opinions....

RE: 4G iPhone
By weskurtz0081 on 5/11/2010 1:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Used some 4G devices, they have since been returned. The 3G coverage with those devices was fine, but 4G was hit or miss.

So, IMO, it's not really a 4G vs LTE debate, it's 3G vs 3G until wimax has halfway decent coverage, even IN Houston the coverage is meh.

RE: 4G iPhone
By adiposity on 5/11/2010 1:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
I live in California Bay Area and Sprint coverage here is terrible compared to Verizon. That's not "whasatoe kansas," pal.

Verizon's coverage is better just about everywhere you look. Hell, any provider is better than Sprint, but I know that's just gonna make you mad...

RE: 4G iPhone
By retrospooty on 5/11/2010 3:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
verizon is $30 per month for unlmited. Who is doing that for $15?

RE: 4G iPhone
By seamonkey79 on 5/11/2010 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint does it for $10 unlimited.

That being said, I switched from Verizon to Sprint for a total of two days before I switched back because I tired of losing 'net when the 3G would drop.

My sister and brother-in-law live in Chicago, about 5 minutes from the United Center, and they just switched to Verizon from Sprint because the 4G box they purchased for their house kept dropping 4G and going to 3G, but not even much of that.

Sprint is a lousy network, even in larger cities (Chicago being a somewhat decently sized city). My Verizon phone works between Chicago and Joliet and down to Champaign just fine, but their Sprint phones hardly work in the city. The saddest part, the most telling point of poor Sprint service in their area? They switched to the Droid Eris and are impressed with its speed...

RE: 4G iPhone
By EasyC on 5/11/2010 11:24:25 AM , Rating: 2
I've been on multiple road trips with friends who have Verizon. They kept having to use my phone (Sprint). Not to mention Sprint offers MUCH more in terms of contracts for price. I get unlimited everything (not just voice). I made calls from Canada and didn't get charged 1 cent extra. Someone I know who has verizon... had a huge bill. They have big reds version of the unlimited plan.

The service coverage is negligable. I'll stick with getting more for my money. Thanks.

RE: 4G iPhone
By inperfectdarkness on 5/11/2010 3:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
my money goes to whoever has the cheapest & most reliable tethering option without data limits.

RE: 4G iPhone
By semiconshawn on 5/11/2010 4:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Thats simply impossible. It is not possible to have a better experience on Sprint than Verizon you must be mistaken. Verizon cost twice as much so it must be better everywhere all the time.

RE: 4G iPhone
By RugbyChix on 5/10/2010 9:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
McNabney as already made the point about Spring and Clearwire, so we will move to point two. LTE is a GSM/UMTS/HSPDA derived technology and little if any of the existing Verizon CDMA2000 3G infrastructure will will be reusable. LTE allows for switching between both legacy GSM technologies and CDMA flavors, meaning that the people the first 4G phones will roam without issue. And Verizon will already have the tower rentals and the fiber to the towers.

AT&T will have some equipment where all they have to do is change the firmware on the radios and the they will be good to go (assuming they have enough spectrum available, which TMO has...AT&T less so.)

RE: 4G iPhone
By mcnabney on 5/11/2010 12:01:22 AM , Rating: 2
You really don't understand wireless. LTE may have evolved from GSM, but it requires completely different equipment from the antenna to the switch. Oh, and don't forget the backhaul.

And Clearwire is pathetic. I am so impressed at their money losing operations in Chicago, Atlanta, Greensboro, Philladelphia, Portland, Seatle, Vegas, and several communities in Texas. It will be even more pathetic after Centurytel/Embarq/Qwest buys Sprint (or maybe they will buy T-Mobile, it is obvious that they want into wireless).

CDMA and EVDO are related, but they are completely different technologies that require completely different equipment and spectrum portfolios to operate. Adding LTE to their offerings will be very similar to adding EVDO five years ago. You might have noticed how fast Verizon covered their entire footprint in EVDO. The only problem to this would be if spectrum was in short supply, which that isn't a problem for Verizon since the last auction when they bought an entire block that covers the entire nation.

So LTE will roll out as a third layer on the Verizon network. Eventually they will eliminate both CDMA and EVDO in favor os VoIP for voice, but that will take years.

RE: 4G iPhone
By Chaser on 5/11/2010 7:35:37 AM , Rating: 2
I'm no expert. I read the white papers and articles. Will LTE allow a Verizon phone to do simultaneous phone and data service?

RE: 4G iPhone
By semiconshawn on 5/11/2010 10:00:39 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously tho what is the argument for lte right now? Where can I get it and use it? Its like saying DVD's are better than VHS two years before DVD's come out. Thats going to be great, but how do I get mobile 4g now? and what is the downside when there is no contract? the 100 bucks for the usb modem?

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