AT&T has an exclusive deal with Apple over the iPhone in the U.S. However, this deal will expire in 2010, and Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO, looks to extend it until 2011 as the iPhone was probably the best thing that ever happened to the carrier. Stephenson says that he is in discussions with Apple, but so far the company which manufactures the iPhone has declined to comment and this makes us to think that Apple doesn’t want to extend the deal because they have received many complaints from people who want other carriers.
“We have a great relationship with AT&T,” said Apple’s spokeswoman, but she left behind an impression that they actually don’t have such a good relationship.
AT&T has probably heard the rumors regarding the next-gen iPhone and it’s normal to want to extend the deal until 2011, but Apple could also release other handhelds so Stephenson will have a hard job in prolonging the deal.
“We have 77 million wireless customers and 30 million consumer phone lines. Which customer base would you rather work from? We tend to come at this backwards,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson’s problem is that we are going through a recession, and the quality of AT&T’s services could drop making Apple to head towards other U.S. carriers. IMO, AT&T’s services already lack in quality and a drop would definitely mean no iPhone for them. However, Stephenson says that they are looking to improve their wireless services.
Personally, I don’t think Apple will extend the deal with AT&T because they will lose too many clients. Apple has to keep their options open, but AT&T cannot afford to lose the iPhone exclusivity. So what will happen? A new iPhone is on its way and users will definitely want another carrier therefore I think Apple has the vantage point here. We’ll see what happens in a few weeks or months, until then we cannot wait for the iPhone 3.0.
Image credit: Dvice