This morning Bloomberg is reporting that Sprint is all set to sell the iPhone 5 when it debuts in the next few weeks, and that they'll differentiate their offering with an unlimited data plan. Both AT&T and Verizon offerred unlimited data plans on the iPhone, but have since moved to tiered plans. New customers on both networks get a 2 GB limit on data each month, and pay overage fees for using more than that. This would give Sprint, the #3 wireless carrier in the US, an interesting advantage over its larger competitors. Offering the iPhone 5 with their popular unlimited voice and data plan, which costs less than the tiered plans offered elsewhere, could see the company gain quite a few customers who'd rather not worry about their data usage costing them extra money.
Don't expect a splashy ad campaign about those pre-orders, however. Deutsche Telekom will give out coupons to customers who specifically ask for the next iPhone, Bloomberg said. But Deutsche Telekom will not be providing details on the name or the release date of the next-gen Apple smartphone.
But while Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of U.S. carrier T-Mobile, this doesn't necessarily signal that T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone anytime soon. Deutsche Telekom has been an Apple European sales partner since the debut of the iPhone in 2007. In late August, there were reports that the iPhone 5 would operate on T-Mobile and Sprint 3G networks and could hit stores in early- to mid-October, but no announcements have been made.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint will be selling the iPhone 5 (alongside AT&T and Verizon) when it launches in "mid-October." In addition, they'll also sell the updated iPhone 4 model that Apple will be selling at a lower price (likely an 8 GB model.) This is great for Sprint and great for Apple, because if the report holds true, it'll give Sprint a much-needed shot in the arm to sell both the new iPhone model as well as the lower-cost iPhone 4. As for Apple, it gives them play on yet another American carrier, which means more marketshare. We'll be keeping our ears on this one, and will let you know what more we hear on this.
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This week's "iPhone 5" rumors focus on the carriers. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Chris Larsen, via CNET, the "most noteworthy" change to Apple's next-generation iPhone is that it'll be offered by Sprint and T-Mobile, on top of existing carriers AT&T and Verizon.
In May, another analyst said an iPhone "4S" was launching on Sprint and T-Mobile in time for the Christmas holidays.
Meanwhile, ChipHazard reports that the next-generation iPhone is being field tested on AT&T's networks, according to a "well-placed sources in AT&T Mobility." The tests include signal reception and connectivity, and once they pass the tests the prototype will be given to manufacturers.
As for phone specs, there's an endless amount of speculation. Some of the more recent rumors include a completely revamped iPhone 5 with wireless juicing, a "baby iPhone" for developing markets.