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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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Economically challenged?
By redbone75 on 5/23/2007 8:02:33 AM , Rating: 5
You have to love the language people make up to try to be politically correct. I, personally, am hype machine challenged, so I have an inherent tendency to wait and see if this phone will be the "must-have" gadget of the year.

RE: Economically challenged?
By astrodemoniac on 5/23/2007 8:17:05 AM , Rating: 2
lol yeah I chuckled when I read that :D

RE: Economically challenged?
By marvdmartian on 5/23/2007 9:52:14 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah, gotta love the line:
The other 22 percent without cell phones, he says, "are the very young, the very old and the economically challenged"

Okay, I'm just shy of 45, so I'm definitely not very young or very old, and I earn over $50K a year, so I'm not economically challenged......

Perhaps the reason why I don't have a cell phone is because I don't want one??? Everyone I know, that I wish to speak with on the phone, knows my home phone number. If I'm not home, talk to my answering machine, or send me an e-mail! If it's really important, call me at work during the day!

But other than that, I have no reason for anyone to call me at all times of the day or night, irregardless of where I am. Some people might consider that to be a sad state of affairs, and wouldn't understand how someone in the 21st century can live without a phone strapped to their head, 24/7.

Me? I call it freedom! :)

RE: Economically challenged?
By ted61 on 5/23/2007 10:19:33 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the comment marv. You crack me up.

RE: Economically challenged?
By robbase29a on 5/23/2007 1:49:07 PM , Rating: 3
uhh... the neat thing about cell phones is that they have an 'off' button.. so you can actually choose when to take calls or not. Also... unlike with a home phone, you can take a cell phone out of your house and talk on it wherever. Emergency?... too bad for you that you aren't home and don't have access to your land line or your email.

I, on the otherhand, do not have a home phone and use my cell instead. I was like you and didn't get a cell phone till I needed one... you don't really know what you're missing till you have one. I actually think I have more freedom.

RE: Economically challenged?
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2007 2:41:28 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with the above poster. I don't have a home phone because I don't need one. My cell lets me talk when and where ever I want. If I don't want to talk to anyone, I turn it off or don't answer. Not to mention that cell phones have free long distance calling while land lines do not. Unless of course you get a broadband phone but that costs as much as a cell phone contract and goes out if the power does. At least with a cell phone or a land line, you can still make calls (course the cell phone requires the tower to have power but rarely do those go without power).

RE: Economically challenged?
By redbone75 on 5/23/2007 4:19:51 PM , Rating: 3
I got my first cell phone back in 2000 when my fiance wanted to keep more tabs on me. I would like to say that I am happily unmarried to this day. Viva la cell phone!

RE: Economically challenged?
By GlassHouse69 on 5/24/2007 1:42:34 AM , Rating: 2
I own a business, have many clients, have people work for me, I dont have a cell phone.

nothing ever actually important was told me while I was out, cell phones offer nothing if you stop to think about it and arent a lemming.

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.

By zombiexl on 5/23/2007 8:00:14 AM , Rating: 3
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.

Wasn't a law passed recently (less than a year ago) that allowed users the right to unlock any cell phoen they bought?

By Master Kenobi on 5/23/2007 8:01:55 AM , Rating: 2
I don't recall hearing about that. I recall allowing you to move phone numbers, but not devices.

By GreenEnvt on 5/23/2007 8:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
In addition to the reply below about it being legal to unlock cell phones now, there is also this proposal:

By Marcus Yam on 5/23/2007 8:08:43 AM , Rating: 3
Good memory.

But will the average consumer purchase an iPhone through AT&T, cancel the contract, potentially pay to have it unlocked, and switch to T-Mobile?

Unlikely. Seems that the move to keep iPhone on AT&T is to keep it GSM-only, meaning no iPhone for Verizon...which is probably all AT&T cares about.

By GreenEnvt on 5/23/2007 8:11:50 AM , Rating: 2
So phone companies can still lock them, but you are allowed to get them unlocked if you choose.
I'm sure unlocked iphones will show up on ebay and tigerdirect before too long.

By GoatMonkey on 5/23/2007 8:16:44 AM , Rating: 2
If you did do all that I think you might lose some of the features. It seems like I read that AT&T had to do some upgrades to get the voice mail system that allows you to skip around for example.

By ninjit on 5/23/2007 11:26:08 AM , Rating: 2
If you call them, they are obligated to give you the unlock codes.

I've done it a couple of times with new phones, so that I could buy prepaid SIM cards in europe, and not pay cingular's ridiculous international roaming fees.

They don't really care if you unlock the phone or not, as long as you keep paying the monthly bills on your contract (or the hefty termination fee to get out of it - but I can't honestly see people going that route just to get an iPhone they can use with T-mobile).

Who Will Buy It Anyway
By uglyone888 on 5/23/2007 10:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
I see the iPhone as a device targeted towards those teenagers without cell phones, but the ones that already have phones will not want to change carriers/phones so they will not purchase one.

RE: Who Will Buy It Anyway
By aguilpa1 on 5/23/2007 10:51:15 AM , Rating: 2

If my teenager asked I need $6 to get a magazine, I say sure (it somewhat helps with their reading skills)

If they said I need $60 to get a new pair of jeans, I say sure as long as its a good quality material and they will wear it more than once.

If they say I need $600 to get a new cell phone (I don't care who's it is) I say NO. and If you want to negotiate, than give me 2 semestars of straight A's and you pay for half of it.

RE: Who Will Buy It Anyway
By ninjit on 5/23/2007 11:22:02 AM , Rating: 2
You're a better parent than most then.

A live in the La Jolla area of San Diego, and you commonly see high-school kids driving around in cadillacs, mercedes, etc.
The high-school parking lots in the area look like high-end dealerships.

Unfortunately, the general rule of thumb is that even if the parents are self-made (and hence aware of how fortunate they are), the kids have little to no appreciation of it.

RE: Who Will Buy It Anyway
By slacker57 on 5/23/2007 1:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
You're a better parent than most then.

Exactly what I was thinking. Helicopter parents are too much the norm these days, and they can't bear to think of the self-esteem hit little Jimmy will take if you or anyone else says no to him, so they will buy whatever they want to keep him from crying. I wouldn't be surprised to see the second graders that my girlfriend teaches running around with iphones, much less teenagers.

RE: Who Will Buy It Anyway
By blaster5k on 5/23/2007 11:24:24 AM , Rating: 2
Umm... I think it's well outside the price range of most teenagers. It'll probably be popular only with a tech savvy crowd who have money to blow on a fancy phone/all-in-one pocket device.

Even though the iPhone looks pretty cool, personally, I'd be afraid to spend that much on a phone knowing the abuse it might take. My current one's been through the washer and dryer and dropped countless times.

RE: Who Will Buy It Anyway
By Master Kenobi on 5/23/2007 1:24:59 PM , Rating: 3
Tech savvy crowd doesn't buy Apples, let alone an iPhone. an iPod maybe, but nothing else. Apple markets to morons. Seen their Mac vs Windows commercials recently? Anyone worth their salt in the tech community knows them to be pure BS.

RE: Who Will Buy It Anyway
By jarman on 5/23/2007 2:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
You hit the nail on the head. Still, it's sad to see some people just eat the marketing up though.

5 years?
By corduroygt on 5/23/2007 1:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
In 5 years the iphone will be severely outdated.

RE: 5 years?
By peritusONE on 5/23/2007 7:07:32 PM , Rating: 2
No sh|t? Wow, great Zoltar, tell us what other current electronic devices will be obsolete in 5 years! Hold on.....let me get out my notebook to take notes.......

RE: 5 years?
By dude on 5/23/2007 7:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
In 5 years, your computer will be severely outdated.
In 5 years, your monitor will be severely outdated.
In 5 years, your dvd burner will be severely outdated.
In 5 years, _YOUR_ cell phone will be severely outdated.

Hence, the refresh cycle that every company has, be it a cell phone, laptop, car, watch, or your electric toothbrush

It will be about a year before the iPhone v2 comes out.

Stan's comments are interesting
By novacthall on 5/23/2007 8:39:23 AM , Rating: 5
Stan's comment, in particular, caught my eye:
"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."

The smoke signals Apple sends up paint an entirely different picture. Though Apple's sensationalist hype machine tends to brand every gadget that comes through their doors as the next digital messiah, it seems as though (at least at the top level) the brass at AT&T are far more muted in their enthusiasm. While Stan's clear in his assertion that in no uncertain terms does the iPhone represent anything but the finest in mobile technology (the use and practicality of which is debatable) it's as though the iPhone is just another notch in AT&T's belt.

It may be minor, but it's precisely this kind of communication disconnect that has gained Apple the reputation of rating extremely poor at playing well with others. It will be interesting to see how this turns out in a few months.

By SithSolo1 on 5/23/2007 11:52:30 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't LG demonstrate a similar device before the iPhone was even announced?(I know it had a touch screen, I just don't recall the other features) If so that'd be what Verizon is going to use to compete with the iPhone.

RE: Verizon
By Devo2007 on 5/23/2007 12:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
That would be the LG Prada phone. :)

Perfect Combination
By TomZ on 5/23/2007 2:53:38 PM , Rating: 1
AT&T, a network I would never use, along with iPhone, the phone I would never buy. Therefore, the exclusive deal works perfectly for me. They can keep 'em!

By B166ER on 5/23/07, Rating: 0
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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