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I mentioned earlier this week that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone fans might be able to dial up Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) as their carrier as early as the first quarter of next year. Yesterday, Bloomberg cited a couple of unidentified sources who say it will happen in January.
We can only speculate on who these "deep throat" informers are, but it wouldn't surprise me if the leak came from Verizon itself. (Both Verizon and Apple have no official comment.)
Put yourself in management's shoes. With each new iPhone sold, Verizon sees another user locked into a new two-year commitment with AT&T (NYSE: T ) , a carrier that receives more than its share of customer complaints. If Verizon could just get out the word that the posse is on its way and arriving in January, maybe it could get a significant number of iPhone enviers to hold off until then.
Not so fast?
But let's put the brakes on this Verizon express for a moment. PC World reminds us we've heard all too often before that iPhone would be available on other carriers, and each time the rumors were untrue. There's also the fact that no outsider really knows the terms of the Apple-AT&T exclusivity contract; many believe it doesn't expire until 2012.
Still, Apple must be feeling giddy down to its core: It's in a win-win situation no matter when other carriers pick up its products. After reaping the considerable benefits of the exclusive contract with AT&T since 2007, it's set to sell an iBoatload of new iPhones once Verizon comes on board. UBS AG analyst John Hodulik told Bloomberg that number could be 12 million in the first year. The current large amount of promotion Verizon dishes out to Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM ) BlackBerrys and to smartphones based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android operating system will naturally diminish once iPhone is on board, and those rivals will certainly suffer the consequences.
If you were sure Verizon would offer the iPhone in January, would you hold off getting a new one until then? Let me know in the comments box below.