Sprint agrees to spend $20 billion on iPhones, will get iPhone 5 exclusive?

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: October 3, 2011

Sprint iPhone

We've heard quite a few iPhone 5 rumors over the past several months, but today a pair have emerged that are some of the biggest we've heard yet. From all indications, it looks like Sprint will finally be getting in on the iPhone fun tomorrow, joining AT&T and Verizon on the list of U.S. carriers that offer an iOS smartphone. What did Sprint have to do in order to secure an iPhone for its network? Oh, not much, just promise to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years. That's according to "people familiar with the matter" speaking with the Wall Street Journal, who claim that the deal will cost Sprint around $20 billion. The deal will reportedly end up losing money for Sprint until 2014 and was described as a "bet-the-company kind of thing" by one of the WSJ's sources.

Keeping up with the Sprint iPhone news, an "incredibly solid" source speaking to BGR has claimed that Sprint may be getting a nice Welcome to iPhone gift tomorrow in the form of an iPhone 5 exclusive. Not only that, but Sprint's iPhone 5 will feature WiMAX connectivity, says the source. As far as other specs go, BGR claims that the iPhone 5 will feature a 4-inch display, "faster CPU," 1GB RAM, 32GB storage, a dedicated Assistant button, and a "slightly larger design overall."

Meanwhile, the BGR tipster believes that AT&T and Verizon will be getting an iPhone 4S tomorrow, complete with an A5 processor, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture, updated front-facing camera, NFC support, and a "metal or 'premium' plastic" rear. What about a 4G-enabled iPhone 5 for Verizon and AT&T, you ask? BGR's source claims that Apple plans to release an LTE version of the iPhone 5 for AT&T and Verizon in the first quarter of next year.

So will Sprint really be exclusively launching a WiMAX-powered iPhone 5? It definitely is one of the craziest things I've heard, not only because Sprint is considerably smaller customer-wise than Verizon and AT&T, but also because many expect Sprint to move away from WiMAX and instead launch an LTE network. Certainly a WiMAX iPhone 5 would be cool to see, but why would people want it (and why would Sprint want to launch it) when a Sprint LTE network could be going live as soon as Q1 2012? Of course, with Sprint's $20 billion agreement that I mentioned earlier, the carrier may have wanted to blow out their iPhone launch in a big way, and perhaps Apple felt like obliging them. Just don't get your hopes up, alright Sprint folk?

As a quick reminder, Apple's "Let's Talk iPhone" event is scheduled to kick off tomorrow, October 4th, at 10 AM PT/1PM ET, and as usual we here at PhoneDog will be covering the news as it happens. It's shaping up to be a event tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Via WSJ, BGR

Products mentioned