Now that the Verizon iPhone has made the transition from constant rumor to certain reality, a new question presents itself:
When will Sprint begin selling an iPhone of its own?
There doesn’t seem to be much standing in their way, at least not technically. After all, Sprint and Verizon Wireless require the same type of hardware in order to connect to and use their networks. They also share the same high-speed wireless data network technology, EV-DO.
So, now that a compatible iPhone exists, why wouldn’t Sprint begin selling Apple’s smartphone in the very near future?
It would seem that an agreement with Apple is all that’s missing. And because Verizon’s iPhone ends more than three years of AT&T exclusivity, such an agreement isn’t a stretch. Plus, Verizon clearly stated during last week’s announcement that its agreement with Apple regarding a CDMA iPhone 4 was “non exclusive.” That leaves the door open in a big way (Sprint is Verizon’s only major CDMA competitor).
Add to that a just-announced Sprint event on February 7, and there’s at least a chance of Verizon having a CDMA iPhone competitor pretty much right out of the gate.
Possible does not mean desirable (though it’s difficult to believe Sprint has no interest in offering an iPhone). Desirable doesn’t mean doable (there could be any number of sticking points keeping a Sprint iPhone from becoming reality any time soon). Doable doesn’t mean that the timing is right (Sprint could opt to wait for iPhone 5, for example). And the February event could be intended to announce any number of things unrelated to Apple, namely Android smartphones and/or tablets.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
If forced to guess, we’d say Sprint won’t be announcing the iPhone until later in the year or 2012. This is largely based on conversations with contacts inside the company and the general “gut” feeling that the timing isn’t quite right.
Sprint will sell an iPhone. It’s just a question of when. And “when” probably isn’t now.