It seems that there is nothing such as a done deal in the world of mobile, at least not until it is truly a done deal. All this year we’ve been hearing that the Apple iPhone would be coming to Verizon in 2010 – and in fact we heard that two models would be coming to the carrier. Of course, we also heard that AT&T, which is still the exclusive carrier for the handset, was doing everything short of begging, pleading and stealing to keep that exclusivity – and in fairness we don’t know if they did beg or plead!
Now the latest word comes as a major shock: T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone instead of Verizon. So why the sudden change?
First, while everyone – including this reporter – has been practically reporting about the Version deal as if it is a done deal, the truth is that it wasn’t, plain and simple. Rumors spread like wild fire online and the truth is that no announcement was made. Of course, that didn’t stop anyone from reporting this as if it was a fact.
Second, could marketing be an issue? Absolutely. If you’ve been watching any TV lately you’ll notice that Verizon and AT&T have really started to go after each other, as if they’re the “Coke” and “Pepsi” players – in truth they are pretty much – while the other players were akin to “RC Cola” and “Dr. Pepper.” Verizon’s own “There’s a map for that” campaign should have been a clue that perhaps the iPhone wasn’t going there way.
Third, technology could be an even bigger issue. T-Mobile clearly has an advantage as it utilizes a similar 3G UMTS/WCMA network as AT&T.
Fourth, maybe Apple wants the underdog. Apple has long been the underdog in the computer world, and while it does dominate the portable digital music player market with the iPod, the company must know that getting too big, or partnering with the biggest player is a sure path towards the dreaded anti-trust investigations. Consider that Apple just partnered with KT in South Korea, the second biggest carrier in Korea. In the case of Korea, the local carriers have traditionally supported domestic phone makers Samsung and LG, but SK Telecom has released handsets from HTC as well recently.
Finally, regardless of the reasons, this will be something we’ll follow closely to see how it plays out.
Sprint Launches 4G Service
And speaking of technology, Sprint announced recently that it has launched its Sprint 4G mobile broadband service in the Seattle area. This is the first test market to use the new service, which should offer users improved streaming video, fast file downloads and uploads and enhanced browsing experiences. This would be for mobile Internet-powered computers. Sprint customers who want to try the service will need to purchase a 3G/4G USB Modem U300, which comes with support for both the 3G and 4G networks. Currently, Sprint is offering the modem free on new two-year agreement plans, and after a $50 mail-in rebate. The 4G/3G data plans are $69.99 monthly with unlimited 4G and 4G/3G data plans.