Well, it appears I spoke too soon. On Monday night I posted a GatorUptown.com entry saying that the AT&T monopoly over iPhone service in the United States had originally been expected to end this summer, but was then extended to Q1 of next year in recognition of AT&T’s concessions on iPad pricing.
It turns out, AT&T really DID have a five-year exclusivity commitment from Apple, as was reported way-back-when in a USA Today article from May 2007.
Now, whether this agreement will actually stand for the full five years is anyone’s guess. As reported by engadget.com, “Contracts can be canceled, amended, and breached in many ways, and AT&T’s spotty recent service history plus the explosion of the iPhone and the mobile market in general have given Apple any number of reasons to revisit the deal.”
Either way, I’m cautiously optimistic this means AT&T will be agreeable to subsidizing new iPhone models for existing customers this summer. I want to get the new iPhone device when it becomes available, and hope that locking in for another two years will make them sell me the phone at new-subscriber rates. (That’s what they did for the 3G model, so here’s hopin’ they will do it again!)