Report: AT&T Exclusive U.S. iPhone Provider Until 2012



AT&T may not be too concerned about chatter Verizon could be added to the list of U.S. carriers offering Apple’s iPhone. The Dallas-based carrier may have an insurance policy of sorts in the form of a deal with Apple hammered out in 2007, making AT&T the sole U.S. iPhone carrier through 2012, according to a report by Engadget.

Although much of an antimonopoly lawsuit against AT&T and Apple remains sealed, the gadget blog uncovered testimony from the Cupertino, Calif. company agreeing with a 2007 USA Today report saying the consumer device giant and carrier had signed a five-year exclusivity arrangement amid the unveiling of the first iPhone. Verizon, now in the news as a potential addition to AT&T, rejected the original deal, according to the newspaper.

Engadget writer Nilay Patel asked whether that deal between Apple and AT&T was still in-force. “Contracts can be canceled, amended, and breached in many ways, and AT&T’s spotty recent service history plus the explosion of the iPhone and the mobile market in general have given Apple any number of reasons to revisit the deal,” Patel suggested.

The question of when and if AT&T would lose its exclusivity has followed a roller-coaster like path. At first, analysts were near certain Verizon would gain the iPhone, then some voices began suggesting Apple’s decision to use AT&T for the iPad meant Verizon was off the table until at least 2011.

[via Silicon Alley Insider, AppleInsider and Engadget]