2012 might be the year when AT&T loses its monopoly. According to a USA Today article published May 23, 2007, Leslie Cauley, the writer of the article states “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years – an eternity in the go-go cell phone world.”
Now the catch is that we don’t really know much about the documents that Apple and AT&T signed, so there is a mystery around it. However with the approach of the new iPhone HD, the fourth generation iDevice, this question comes up again.
If we take a look at the documents we can see that according to the Engadget blog, the documents signed back in 2007 show that AT&T has exclusive rights on the iPhone. In arguing against this, Apple filed a brief in October 2008, in which states that there was nothing secretive about the exclusive deal.
To confuse things a bit, we don’t have statements from Apple or AT&T about the length of the contract. There are experts that say the contract will expire this year. Even the author of the five year deal article, Leslie Cauley, seems to write in vague terms about the contract period between Apple and AT&T. The most certain thing is neither of the two players are talking about these official terms.
Something might happen with the release of the iPhone 3G, maybe a new agreement between the two? According to the court documents, 2007 meant for Apple a 5 year exclusive contract with AT&T. However, there are more questions than answers at this point, so the thinking is that will be more information this summer with the arrival of the iPhone HD.