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AT&T To Lose iPhone Exclusivity Wednesday?

According to the word from an AT&T insider, the wireless company is set to lose its exclusive deal with Apple to distribute the iPhone in the U.S. as early as Wednesday, January 27. That happens to be the same day Apple is holding a press conference.
According to the word from an AT&T insider, the wireless company is set to lose its exclusive deal with Apple to distribute the iPhone in the U.S. as early as Wednesday, January 27. That happens to be the same day Apple is holding a press conference.AT&T has taken it on the chin from iPhone users for quite some time now. iPhone users are very vocal about their negative experiences with the device on AT&T's network. When Apple first announced the iPhone back in 2007, the company said that AT&T would be the only distributor of the iPhone in the U.S. Since then, speculation has been all over the map as to how long the exclusivity deal would last. Five or ten years were the first time spans considered. Lately, that has dropped down to three. Well, January 2010 would be three years from when Apple first announced the iPhone, though the device didn't go on sale until June 2007.

Apple, of course, is set to announce something on Wednesday. Most expect Apple to introduce a tablet computer, though others believe iPhone 4.0 is in the works, too.

Now, from HotHardware.com, comes this suspiciously timed leak:


According to an inside source close to the going-ons involved in all of this, a new tablet of some sort may not be the only thing on deck for next Wednesday though. We have been led to believe by an inside source that AT&T will lose their iPhone exclusivity on the same day, though it's not yet clear what other carrier (or carriers) will be stepping in to also carry the phone. For anyone who has followed the saga, you may notice that you haven't seen AT&T fighting to extend their original exclusive agreement of late. In fact, they have spent most of their time fighting Verizon's negative ad campaign.
AT&T has always kept quiet about its contract with Apple, though CEO Ralph de la Vega has alluded to a time at some point in the future when it isn't the only distributor of the iPhone. That time may be upon us.

As HotHardware notes, no other U.S. carrier has even hinted that they'll soon be offering the iPhone. Many expect Verizon to be the one to carry it, but I still find that hard to believe, as Apple would have to make an entirely new version of the iPhone to work with Verizon's network. Will it happen? We might find out Wednesday.