MORE THE MERRIER
Looks like we may have more than one choice of carrier when it comes to an iPhone from Apple. Some background in this USA Today piece:
It would mark the first time Apple has produced a version of the iPhone for a CDMA wireless network, which is different from AT&T's GSM technology. Vodafone, co-owner of Verizon Wireless, already sells the iPhone in Europe..."
"...AT&T (T) has exclusive U.S. distribution rights to the iPhone into 2010, though specifics aren't known. The deal was struck in 2006, when the iPhone was still on the drawing board. Many telecom analysts expect AT&T to try to persuade Apple to extend the contract for another year, at least."
Why would a Verizon iPhone be a big deal? The article goes on to explain:
"Should Verizon succeed, it would be a big loss for AT&T, says Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen. "Breaking the (iPhone) exclusivity with AT&T is a huge thing," he says. "That would send shivers into AT&T's stock and senior leadership."
The power of the iPhone was on full display last week, when AT&T reported stellar wireless results. AT&T signed up 1.6 million iPhone customers during the quarter — 40% of them new to AT&T. Revenue from mobile data was up almost 40%. Verizon reports results today.
By linking arms with Verizon, Entner says, Apple would gain access to its 80 million customers. While a few may already have an iPhone (some people have more than one carrier), the bulk don't."
The iPhone is well on it's way to being a mobile computing platform for thousands of third-party applications (aka "Apps"). Just this week, Apple passed a billion Apps downloaded milestone. Making the iPhone available available on more than one carrier is almost a no-brainer for Apple.