Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint has agreed to buy 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years from Apple for an average price of $655, which works out to $20 billion and report notes that this kinda commitments aren’t unusual for Apple’s carrier partners, demonstrating the success Apple has gained with the iPhone. Apple will indeed launch a redesigned iPhone 5, but it will be a 4G WiMAX device, which will be exclusively available on Sprint’s network, while carriers like AT&T and Verizon will get a 4G LTE iPhone in the first quarter of 2012………………..
Sprint will need to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next 4 years, reports the WSJ and the deal is said to run $20B, a figure that will keep Sprint in the red until 2014. This would equate to $655 per phone if taken as an average number, that would indicate that these would be higher-end models. The publication cites sources familiar with the matter in saying that CEO Dan Hesse told the board in August that Sprint would likely lose money on the deal until 2014 and one person familiar with the decision said that the hit to the company’s operating income would be enormous and that this is a bet-the-company kind of thing. The board was reluctant to approve the deal, wondering if the iPhone would still be popular in 2015. Hesse’s opinion was clear though as he told attendees of an industry conference that the iPhone was the number 1 reason customers leave or switch carriers. Sprint is seen to have several advantages that could make it a more attractive option for refugees from other services and those are the fact that it persists in offering an unlimited data plan to its subscribers, a practice that AT&T and Verizon have ceased. Sprint also consistently earns very high network approval ratings from its customers, coming in roughly even with Verizon and far ahead of AT&T. BGR also posted up a rumor that the iPhone 5 would be a Sprint exclusive and that is the redesigned iPhone 5 with a teardrop shape and a larger screen. This sounds patently ridiculous to us as having a next-gen iPhone on a carrier exclusive poses almost no benefit to us. Especially if the phone is a WiMax device, which is a failing standard that no one but Sprint uses and that even it has been considering ditching for LTE. The iPhone 4S will introduce tomorrow will feature the following:
- A low voltage Apple A5 CPU (it won’t be the same as the iPad 2 chip, clock for clock).
- Updated front and back camera sensors. FaceTime HD in the front, 8-megapixel 1080p HD video recording in the back.
- Multiband 3G Qualcomm chipset — North American & International GSM/UMTS/HSPA bands for AT&T and Global carriers, North American CDMA & International GSM/UMTS/HSPA bands for Verizon and Sprint.
- NFC support.
- Metal or “premium” plastic on the back case.
And here is what BGR‘s source said about the iPhone 5 that will launch as a Sprint exclusive:
- Faster CPU.
- Larger 4-inch screen, similar to LG’s NOVA display but with a higher resolution.
- 1GB of RAM.
- Slightly larger design overall, but thinner and with a larger battery.
- 32GB of storage.
- iPhone 5 exclusive software and APIs (Assistant).
- Dedicated Assistant button, possibly integrated with the new home button, “think gestures or a two-stage button like a camera shutter key).