WSJ: AT&T’s Exclusive Deal for iPhone in U.S. Only Runs Through Next Year

Amol Sharma, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

But AT&T’s exclusive deal to carry the iPhone in the U.S. expires next year, according to people familiar with the matter, and Mr. Stephenson is now in discussions with Apple Inc. to get an extension until 2011.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, saying only, “We have a great relationship with AT&T.”

This is in direct conflict with several reports from USA Today back in 2007, which claimed the exclusive deal was for five years. E.g. this report by Leslie Cauley on 23 May 2007:

AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years — an eternity in the go-go cellphone world. And Apple is barred for that time from developing a version of the iPhone for CDMA wireless networks.

That ban is no small thing. AT&T rivals Verizon Wireless and Sprint are both CDMA shops. AT&T uses GSM, a global standard incompatible with CDMA.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009