Verizon Might Be Willing to Pay Apple to Keep the iPhone off T-Mobile and Sprint

Verizon Wireless and Apple's iPhone 4Speculation from analysts is pointing towards Verizon getting its own kind of exclusivity deal for the iPhone. No, AT&T will still carry its model of the iPhone as well but Verizon could be willing to pay extra to keep the smart phone off of rival carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. According to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu—well known in smart phone circles—Verizon “may be willing to pay for exclusivity to itself and AT&T.” That would certainly kill the rumors that T-Mobile could get an iPhone model of its own next year.

T-Mobile USA has long wanted to get its hands on an iPhone of its own and its own parent company CEO has publicly blamed a lack of the iPhone for slow sales performance recently. While most of the old rumors regarding a T-Mobile iPhone point towards the carrier getting a version of the iPhone 3GS at first, combining the new rumor with all the shots T-Mobile has been taking at the iPhone 4 lately in television commercials and you have a recipe for the iPhone still not showing up T-Mobile’s network anytime soon.

Why would Verizon consider a special arrangement with Apple though? AT&T is just behind Verizon customers. With T-Mobile and Sprint both only taking up a fraction of the subscriber bases that Verizon and AT&T enjoy, does it make sense for Verizon to pay Apple extra for each iPhone 4 it sells just to keep it off of the two smaller rival networks? I’m not quite sure. However, AT&T’s network has been long criticized for dropped calls and generally poor performance—though the carrier’s network does offer faster 3G speeds than Verizon’s at the moment. Could Verizon be plotting on trying to take down Sprint and T-Mobile with its own iPhone? That’s certainly a possibility.

The other big factor here at play is that Verizon apparently doesn’t think the launch of BlackBerry OS 6 on its network will have an impact on sales. Android OS smartphone sales are also starting to level off and they’ve never been particularly impressive on AT&T’s network anyway. With an iPhone to sell, Verizon could start boosting its market share pretty quickly. Who wouldn’t want one on arguably the largest and best designed cellular network in the country? Unfortunately, it probably won’t be until the middle half of next year that Verizon starts allowing data and calls to go through the same connection at once. Can you live with that?

Let me know what you think. Could the only two carriers to sell the iPhone end up being Verizon and AT&T until who knows when?

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