Monday, August 4, 2008

AT&T said to lock in exclusive iPhone deal to 2010

To any T-mobile USA customers out there who were getting excited about the the prospects of gaining access to the iPhone, hold on!Maybe by 2010.

When the original iPhone was launched last year, AT&T was given exclusive rights through 2009; the deal has reportedly now been extended through 2010. AT&T’s chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, declined to comment to the newspaper.

When the new iPhone was introduced, AT&T and Apple reached a deal in which the carrier would pay the manufacturer $300 per device -according to analysts- so that the retail cost would remain low.

USA Today's Leslie Cauley:-

DALLAS — Wonder why the smoking-hot 3G Apple iPhone only costs $199, less than half the price of the original? Here's a two-word hint: Randall Stephenson.

Stephenson, who became AT&T's (T) chairman and CEO a year ago, championed the idea of paying Apple (AAPL) about $300 per device, analysts estimate, to help hold down the retail cost. The subsidy, which replaces another arrangement that gave Apple a portion of iPhone service revenue, will dilute earnings through 2009, AT&T says.

On the plus side for consumers, the iPhone is now extremely affordable. At $199, the 3G iPhone costs about the same as a high-end cellphone. AT&T says it plans to offer an unsubsidized iPhone later. Cost: $599 to $699, depending on memory, putting it well beyond the reach of average wireless users.

It remains to be seen if AT&T's gamble will pay off. One thing is clear: Thanks to the iPhone, the smartphone game has changed dramatically. And so have consumer perceptions of the mobile Web, a netherworld that seemed downright hostile before the iPhone showed up.

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