Months after breaking exclusivity with AT&T, rumor has it the new Apple iPhone 4S will be available on all four of the largest wireless carriers in the U.S.
The newest iPhone is expected in September and will expand from being available on AT&T and Verizon to being available on Sprint and T-Mobile as well, according to a research note from Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. The note adds China Mobile will possibly be added as a fifth carrier within a year.
If it’s true, having the latest iPhone available on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will inevitably help sell more phones and up to competition with Android models.
Android phones are available on the “Big Four,” too, meaning for the first time wireless users wouldn’t have to switch carriers to make the choice between buying an iPhone or buying an Android model.
This may be just the help Apple needs to win in the battle against Google’s increasingly popular line of smartphones. Android first surpassed the iPhone in sales last year, when the iPhone was only available on AT&T, a carrier many were ready to abandon because of poor call service.
Bringing the iPhone to Verizon gave Apple record first-day sales when pre-orders for existing Verizon customers began February 4. The iPhone 4 sold out in two hours that day, proving existing Verizon subscribers wanted to get their hands on the coveted phone, even when they had access to the Droid.
Gaining T-Mobile and Sprint may help iPhone sales the way Verizon did and it makes sense to include both since AT&T has agreed to acquire T-Mobile and this would set the tone for a scorned AT&T to keep the iPhone after the merger.
But sales may not flourish as much with T-Mobile and Sprint, as those carriers together only made up about 24 percent of the U.S. mobile market, as of December, less than AT&T, at 26.6 percent, or Verizon, at 31.3 percent.