The hotly anticipated iPhone will only be available with AT&T service for at least the next five years. The AT&T and Apple deal also prevents the development of a CDMA version of the iPhone for the same period of time.
If you want an iPhone anytime before 2012, you’ll need to dump your current plan if you’re not already an AT&T customer. This is of course, exactly what AT&T is hoping for.
This is a major win for AT&T/Cingular which is in the midst of rebranding campaign in preparation for the iPhone launch.
Stan Sigman heads up AT&T’s wireless division and was recently interviewed by USA Today:
“I’m glad we have (the iPhone) in our bag,” he says. “Others will try to match it, but for a period of time, they’re going to be playing catch-up.”
Hardball is nothing new in the cellphone industry. But as white-hot growth finally begins to slow, it’s getting downright desperate out there.
Many users who would be glad to pony up $600 for an iPhone will not switch from competitors service plans for various reasons, especially if they are under contract for the next couple of years. But if the iPhone garners the same kind of cult following as the iPod, AT&T will be sitting pretty.