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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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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...


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