WSJ – Sprint Bets $20 Billion on iPhone; Will it be a Sprint Exclusive?

Submitted by lalit on October 3, 2011 - 2:54pm.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint has made a multibillion dollar deal with Apple for upcoming iPhone. Joann Lublin wrote on WSJ:

Mr. Hesse told the board the carrier would have to agree to purchase at least 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years—a commitment of $20 billion at current rates—whether or not it could find people to buy them, according to people familiar with the matter. In order to keep the price people pay for the phone low and competitive with rivals, Sprint would be subsidizing the cost of each phone to the tune of about $500, which would take a long time to recoup even at the high monthly fees iPhone users pay.

The board ultimately signed off on what the company internally called the "Sony" project, concluding Sprint couldn't compete otherwise. Directors figured, "How can we pass this up? We have to have it," the person familiar with the matter said.

Adding to the above news, BGR reported that iPhone 5 will be a Sprint exclusive and Verizon and AT&T won’t get it before next year. Jonathan Geller wrote:

I have been going back and forth for weeks with one of my incredibly solid industry contacts on a piece of information that I couldn’t really process at first — information that is so unbelievable, even from a source this solid, that I couldn’t report it. With this new WSJ report on an Apple/Sprint deal, however, it doesn’t look so crazy. 

I have been told that Sprint will be getting the iPhone 5 — yes the real iPhone 5, not the iPhone 4S — as an exclusive. And it will be a 4G WiMAX device. AT&T and Verizon would launch the iPhone 4S and get the iPhone 5 some time in the first quarter of next year as an LTE device. Globally, the iPhone 5 might be available as a 4G HSPA+ device.

We know that the next generation iPhone will be coming to Sprint, but we don’t think it will be a Sprint exclusive. If Apple does that it will be sending a very wrong message to iPhone/Apple loyalist who stuck with AT&T for four years even though the carrier’s service was below par.