USA Today reported in an article published today that AT&T has exclusive rights to the iPhone in the United States for a period of five years. That's right, FIVE years. Exclusivity agreements between mobile phone device manufacturers and service providers are nothing new, especially in the United States. That said, a 5 year exclusivity agreement is unheard of.
In the world of Apple iPhone news and non-news, take one afternoon off and you'll likely miss a rumor and sometimes even a piece of useful information. Today's first missed tidbit comes in the form of a rumor out of The Boy Genius Report, which has offered up tasty iPhone rumors many a time.
This time, it's the suggestion that AT&T plans to sell the iPhone to customers without requiring them to sign a contract of any kind. The rumor is backed by a screenshot supposedly from an AT&T computer which shows three iPhone plans: postpaid, prepaid, and hybrid.
As each new smartphone or multimedia phone is launched or announced, each one is touted as the latest 'iPhone killer'. We've seen the Nokia N95 termed such, the enigma that is the Deeda Pi, Samsung's double sided media phone, and most recently two new models from Motorola - the Q9h and the RAZR2.
After approximately six months of FCC scrutiny, the Apple iPhone has gained FCC approval. This pending approval was the only known obstacle still standing in the way of Apple and AT&T putting iPhones on store shelves.
The approval may have squased any hopes of software upgradeable 3G capabilities in the first iPhone (which most recognized to be a long shot anyway) as the FCC approval is for the slower GSM data network, EDGE.
Another internal AT&T document has found it's way into the hands of the iPhone speculation machine that is the internet. It is the latest of communication documents between AT&T and it's employees regarding the upcoming launch of the iPhone.
A couple of weeks ago, an internal email was circulated which informed employees of a month long, June 15-July 15, iPhone launch period during which vacation was strongly discouraged.