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AT&T hopes for iPhone to be synonymous with the company in five year exclusive

Apple’s iPhone is arguably this year’s most hotly anticipated consumer device. AT&T already accelerated its plans to rebrand the Cingular properties in preparation of the iPhone’s arrival – and apparently, its efforts may be well placed as the iPhone could be an AT&T-exclusive for five years, according to a USA Today story.

Being an AT&T-exclusive means that the iPhone will remain a GSM phone, leaving it clearly out of reach for CDMA wireless users. Verizon Wireless and Sprint are both CDMA shops, and customers of those carriers who wish to get the iPhone will have no other choice but to make the move to AT&T.

T-Mobile is another GSM carrier in the U.S., and its network would likely be able to support the iPhone’s calling features, but AT&T will be the only company authorized to officially sell and market the iPhone. Furthermore, all iPhone’s sold through AT&T will be ‘locked’ to the network, disallowing those phones to connect to another carrier even with a different SIM card.

"I'm glad we have (the iPhone) in our bag," says Stan Sigman, CEO of wireless at AT&T. "Others will try to match it, but for a period of time, they're going to be playing catch-up."

According to data collected by Forrester Research, about 78 percent of U.S. households have a mobile phone. Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester, believes anybody who wants a cell phone has one. The other 22 percent without cell phones, he says, "are the very young, the very old and the economically challenged" – none of which are target markets for the iPhone.

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Why at&t?
By BioRebel on 5/23/2007 9:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
They're neither the best in voice reception, or data service. If apple was smart it would have gone with Verizon.

Personally I think the new Helio Ocean will mop the floor with the iphone. Especially since it uses Verizon voice, and sprint data.

RE: Why at&t?
By retrospooty on 5/23/2007 10:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
yup. Thier goal of 8 million iphones sold in 2008 is pretty much a fantasy at this point. $600 and only one of the big 3 carriers. pfapff.

RE: Why at&t?
By creathir on 5/23/2007 10:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
AT&T more than likely paid the premium for the device.

- Creathir

RE: Why at&t?
By microAmp on 5/23/2007 10:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Why at&t?
By GoatMonkey on 5/23/2007 10:34:05 AM , Rating: 2
The Ocean does look pretty cool. I want to see a side by side comparison of the two. The biggest problem the Ocean faces is that Helio is pretty much unknown as far as how their service is.

RE: Why at&t?
By kamel5547 on 5/23/2007 10:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
The bigger problem with Verizon is they like to disable features on phones... I'm rather certain this was a sticking point for Apple.

RE: Why at&t?
By Master Kenobi on 5/23/2007 11:56:50 AM , Rating: 2
It was the other way around. Apple wanted total control of the iPhone, all services it connected to, and a hefty chunk of the monthly service contract. Verizon told them to shove it.

RE: Why at&t?
By AlexWade on 5/23/2007 12:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
To be on Verizon, all the software has to be exactly the same. (Besides, Verizon loves to cripple some stuff.) Apple is Apple, there are not going to allow anyone to change their UI.

RE: Why at&t?
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2007 2:37:35 PM , Rating: 1
I had AT&T and the voice quality wasn't that great. Nor is their data service anywhere near as good as Verizon's or Sprint's. Sprint's and Verizon's data service is better than midrange DSL connections now. They're getting like 200-300KB/s rates.

Personally I wouldn't buy the phone even if Verizon or Sprint did sell it. I'm not spending $600 on a cell phone.

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