AT&T & Apple In Talks to Extend iPhone Deal

It is no secret that AT&T has the iPhone locked up through the year 2010. Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T is in talks to add yet another year to the current deal. Of course neither side is commenting about the matter at this point, and when contacted, an Apple representative said:

"We have a great relationship with AT&T."

While we here at TiPb are well aware of how many of you truly despise AT&T, is this where we give them another chance? It has been rumored they are still beefing up their network for the next iPhone launch.

Personally for me here in the Chicago area, I've never had such great service. No other cellular service performs as well for me and I've tried tried them all. Yes, I said it, go easy on me.

So what do you say? Is another year of AT&T iPhone lock-in a good or bad thing?

[Via WSJ Thanks also to Tyler for the tip!]

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

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AT&T & Apple In Talks to Extend iPhone Deal

50 Comments

I think competition is always good for the consumer. Maybe open the iPhone up to multiple carriers.

@Ray, The problem with that is every carrier would want things differently and Apple does not play like that. It's rumored thats the main reason Verizon was passed on because they wanted it done their way and Apple said - nah... and moved on.

Depends on your stand on things.
I think it's good mainly cuz everyone says "I'll get it when it comes to verizon cuz I hate AT&T."
I don't want them to have it. They don't deserve it. :)

I'd love to try another carrier (say.... Verizon), but quite frankly I, like many other 3G owners in the US, am bound by a CONTRACT! Btw, I also use a bb 8830 for verizon as my assigned work phone. I think Verizon's service and call quality is superior to that of AT&T. So.... another year of no choice in carrier sucks.
I love my iPhone, but not my carrier. Also, I'll save the discussion of bb vs iPhone for another floor.

exactly what he said. if we open the iPhone to different providers it will cause chaos for the want of exclusives by each carrier. I think it's best that the iPhone stays with AT&T. this way we can get alot more stuff downn the road thanks to apple only having to deal with one carrier.

@alex g. verizon has great service. but I don't they beat AT&T. based on my experience with verizon phones the service area seems to be a little misleading. they claim to be Americas largest 3g network but alot of their users are only recieving edge.

I think if they do beef up the network then I wouldn't have a problem with AT&T. It just upsets me when i'm at work and people with other carriers have 3 r 4 bars and I'm straining to get 1. Even though I think that it could b an hardware issue bc som coworker have AT&T or Cingular and they still have more bars than me on my 2g iPhone. Hopefully the new iPhone will resolve my issue

The only two US carriers that are compatible with the iPhone are AT&T and T-Mobile. I have enjoyed my unlocked 2G iPhone on T-Mobile for a year and a half, am considering getting a 3G. I'd much rather get one as a contract extension with T-Mobile. I'll never go with AT&T.

@duke: you are probably right, but with the service and phone I got from verizon... I've got no compliants. At any rate, Rene made a good point: verizon might have/would ask for too many compromises such as... WiFi.
Ty guys.

I think that At&t is really good, but in order for them to have another year of complete domination over other carriers because they have the iPhone..... they're really going to have to "beef up" their 3G, EDGE, and plain cell service. At my school, I get zipppppo service and oh one bar at my house. They also need to expand mobile TV as apple will most likely (I hope for the iPhone's sake) add it in a future model. But I'm impressed with at&t's customer service and other technical support related things and I think the people on verizon that have never been on at&t can just shut the heck up!! We were on verizon for years and they were SO HARD TO DEAL WITH!!! (even if they have good coverage in America, it's not worth it.) (and I get to have my shiny amped out iPhone without them anyway) :) oh!! And btw, if those verizon frea- I mean "people on verizon ever go to ANY part of the world other than the U.S , you'll have no service and will have to buy a disposable phone to use for your trip. (they sell them at the airport if you don't believe me. And one more thing (cause this is a LONG comment...) Verizons new commercial that says you can do this in this place and send an email in this place

I think that At&t is really good, but in order for them to have another year of complete domination over other carriers because they have the iPhone..... they're really going to have to "beef up" their 3G, EDGE, and plain cell service. At my school, I get zipppppo service and oh one bar at my house. They also need to expand mobile TV as apple will most likely (I hope for the iPhone's sake) add it in a future model. But I'm impressed with at&t's customer service and other technical support related things and I think the people on verizon that have never been on at&t can just shut the heck up!! We were on verizon for years and they were SO HARD TO DEAL WITH!!! (even if they have good coverage in America, it's not worth it.) (and I get to have my shiny amped out iPhone without them anyway) :) oh!! And btw, if those verizon frea- I mean "people on verizon ever go to ANY part of the world other than the U.S , you'll have no service and will have to buy a disposable phone to use for your trip. (they sell them at the airport if you don't believe me. And one more thing (cause this is a LONG comment...) Verizons new commercial that says "you can do this in this place and send an email in this place" is VERY MISLEADING!! It says you can send an email in Sydney or someplace!! YEAH SURE!! But only if your on wifi!! You can't make a phone call or text or anything!! It's a load of crap. (excuse my language)
love the blog!! Bye

One thing that makes AT&T's 3G so much more appealing than Verizon's is the simultaneous voice and data. I can't count on having Wi-Fi everywhere, and AT&T has saved me a few times by allowing me to be on a call and surf and email anywhere. When V gets up-to-speed with that on their devices and not bastardize the devices they receive, I'll reconsider them.

If Apple doesn't want to play with others nicely (verizon) tell Att to get their network up to date. Last year I did not have any reason to upgrade to 3g because of no 3g coverage where I live and i'm not gonna upgrade just to have gps. How ever We will see what Apple is gonna in June. I want mms and cut and paste so i just might upgrade with or without 3g service.

Maybe instead of opening the phone up to many companies, just make a new deal with Verizon!
I too, hate AT&T but love the phone. Oh, and I hate T-Mobile and Sprint as well. No personal reasons, but just call quality for me.

I agree with Tone, coming off of Sprint, ATT is amazing! Over the weekend I had spotty 3G coverage but to be honest, it is just fine most of the time. I think that it is just fine on ATT and that gives people the freedom to go overseas with GSM and gives at least some degree of flexibility with SIM cards compared to CDMA. When I was with Sprint, not only did I get terrible service coverage, but when you break a phone that's when you really pay. Activating a new phone (which is required because you can't just put your SIM into another phone) reset the two-year upgrade cycle. That means when I activated a janky phone to get me through a couple of months until I could upgrade, I was shocked to find out that activating that old crummy phone reset my upgrade cycle. Thanks Sprint for rewarding a loyal 7 year customer! I'll stick with GSM and my iPhone any day of the week.

I personally think AT&T isn't bad at all.
But on another note...it would be pretty cool if apple took their profit and launched their own mobile service!
:)
I know...I know...not gonna happen
:(

If the AT&T exclusive goes away it can only be beneficial for the users as it will increase competition. For those who think supporting multiple providers would mean chaos, I don't understand the argument, I think the phone should be available to multiple providers but I also think said providers should not be allowed to mess with the provided apps, the phone should be the same for all. Moreover it should be possible after a certain time to legally unlock the phone. I am currently living in the US (have been for 3 years) but I am going back to France this summer, my 2G iphone will not be usable there without using an unlock which is not supported by apple!

I switched from tmobile to AT&T for the iPhone. I hadntmobole for 4 years prior and LOVED their service,covrage,plans and customer service. I know a of of you have issues with AT&T. I live in Philadelphia and have had no real issues since the switch. I do wish I could have stayed with tmobile (I feel like a loyal customer) but AT&T has been awesome so far. On the other hand AT&T was the carrier who took it's chances and invested with apple on the iPhone. They should have exclusivity. It's easy now for any other carrier to want the iPhone. Da! It's a secure investment!

I think everyone has horror stories about ever carrier out there. I know people who curse AT&T and love some other carrier and won't go with an iPhone until it's no longer an AT&T exclusive. Apple's only hurting itself hobbling itself with a carrier with a bad rep. That's what's hurting sales on the iPhone today. One more year means another year competitors can play catch up. Even if they had 5 years I don't think they could catch up, but still it's one more year Apple could be broadening their market rather than playing biggest fish in little pond.

@Mike:

Apple’s only hurting itself hobbling itself with a carrier with a bad rep.

But if you read the comments above, the ATT reputation is not all that bad. Most are satisfied with the service.
Sure there has been outages. Every carrier has them.
Side note: I went to a Mariners game, and 3G was totally unusable at the ball park. I turned off 3G and was able to use edge for mail, SMS and calls. Verizon user next to me had exactly the same problem, but he had no fallback.
In exchange for a contract extension, Apple should demand (but probably won't):
1) ATT allow use of 3G for what ever the user wants. No blocking Skype. The Bandwidth effectively controls usage anyway, its not like people are going to download entire feature length movies or something. ATT makes far more money on Data than they do on Minutes anyway.
2) Get past the paranoia and allow users to buy replacement phones in the apple store at what ever price Apple is willing to sell them for. If apple wants to honor the subsidy price for replacing a lost phone its no business of ATT's.
3) ATT must agree to unlock the phone at completion of contract or payout of ETF.
4) More reasonable international Roaming Rates, or see #1 above.

We all know Apple could "broaden" their market but at what cost? Would each carrier want subtle differences to distinguish them from the others? Sure I'd love to see Verizon carry the iPhone but I also don't want to see them hinder or cripple it. Better yet, maybe they'd like to stick the nice big Verizon logo on start up and integrate their stale interface that really hasn't changed over the years that I've been with them. If Verizon would leave everything alone then I'd switch back in a heartbeat. Still, I really haven't had any problems with my service or my iPhone so I can't complain.

There are horror stories about every carrier, but I've had the best luck with ATT while at home and traveling on business in half the states in the US and while traveling in half a dozen countries. VZW was a pain in the butt for travel, and loves to restrict WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and everything else. They are so excited about crippling the devices on their network (less so now, but it doesn't inspite much confidence)... and while their sales reps are generally pretty nice, a lor of them are pushy and their tech support in store have been a$$h0l35 to me and my wife. I did okay with T-Mobile and Sprint, but Cingular/ATT is my preference. I don't have 3G issues very often (things have gone a little goofy for me in NYC in some areas on a couple of occasions), rarely have dropped calls since a problem I had with a specific phone years ago and they are easy to deal with when I call customer service aside from one clueless rep.

First of all let me start by saying that ATT will not let the exclusivity get away from them. For all that believe that you need to wake up and get a grip. There is too much money involved in this. Verizon granted has great service but with the freedom Apple needs Verizon wont budge. They could have had the iPhone. I know that they are shooting themselves in the foot but hey such is life. For all you guys complaining about the service if it's really that bad suck it up go to another carrier get another device or unlock it on that carrier if you can. Some of you guys will never be satisfied no matter what goes on. Not saying that I read more than the next person but why would they not stay with ATT since when LTE or whatever that new networks name is will be on both Verizon and ATT so it would actually be pointless. Instead of worrying about changing carriers lets give them advice on making the device better. That Pre is looking really nice and because of it the creative minds at Apple will be bringing nice updates in the near future. This device is in damn neaar 80 countries it doesnt need to move to another carrier. You probably cant even use much of the software that is coming on these devices on Verizon any. They cripple them. Get over it if the Att is preventing you from buying an iPhone so what to your few there are thousands if not millions that will be on line come June or July with all their gripes signing contracts with Att.

@Desmond

Instead of worrying about changing carriers lets give them advice on making the device better.

How successful has that really been? Jan 10, 2007 the iphone introduced and people immediately demanded MMS and shortly thereafter discovered how useful cut and paste would be. How many OS versions were released between then and now? Two full years, and another device later its finally coming. And all it needed was a software fix. Suggesting things to Apple is a clear waste of time.

That Pre is looking really nice and because of it the creative minds at Apple will be bringing nice updates in the near future. This device is in damn neaar 80 countries it doesnt need to move to another carrier.

On the flip side of that argument is the fact that it ALREADY HAS 80 CARRIERS, and Apple has the CLOUT to tell Verizon or T-Mobile, or anyone else that the phone will sell AS IS, with no crippling allowed.
So you see, you really can't have it both ways. The iPhone can't be a world wide success AND yet be threatened by adding another carrier.
FTR: I have no particular problems with ATT, but I dislike lockins and ATT would be even better carrier if they knew I could walk away with this phone.
I just hope everyone here realizes that even without the contract extension you are locked to ATT, because they will not unlock your phone, and you can't unlock it unless you jailbreak it, and Apple's position is that jailbreaking is against the law, and they continue to throw hurdles in the path of jailbreakers. (I Expect much higher hurdles in the next gen phone).

I personally think Apple blew it with aligning themselves with
AT&T, they should of had more faith. They singlehandedly
created the greatest handheld computer on the market, hand
held computer is the keyword!"
they sold 30 million units on that platform, it would have been 100
million without the ATT baggage they contend with, just make it a
gsm capable device, on any network, let the owner of the hardware
decide what network works for them.
I like so many others bought it for it's mobile form factor, a mac in
your pocket if you will, Apple lose the illuminatist philosophy and give
the poeple what they want " open source and freedom " we buy the
hardware not AT&!"

I have no problems at all with AT&T service. I wish text packages were cheaper. Keep it on att and make them pay for that exclucivity

AT&T and their commercials drive me insane.. I have never had as many dropped calls in my life as I did with AT&T, the week I had it.
Please Apple Open up the iPhone. AT&T coverage is terrible in Southern California.. I have money to spend but can't give Apple any because I will not go with AT&T.. The coverage doesn't work at my house, in the desert where we camp a lot. My current carrier works great in both locations. My friends phones with other carriers work great in both locations.. My one camping friend with AT&T has to use my phone in the desert and complains about coverage in the LA area.
Apple cut loose of AT&T and their pack of adversting lies.

Why is it that AT&T can compete with Apple (selling internet phones such as the Blackberry), but Apple can't compete with AT&T?
I migrated to AT&T from Verizon solely because of the iPhone. It felt like going back to the Stone Age in terms of call quality and reception.

No I hate verizon. AT&T should keep iPhone 4 ever . And I hate people that say AT&T is cheap. Verizon suck's AT&T is the beat!!!!!!!!

I've been pleasantly surprised with the AT&T service in the St Louis area. The only thing I would like to see are cheaper rates - I'm paying a lot more for AT&T than I did on Sprint...which is why my wife and kids are STILL on Sprint! My wife would love to get an iPhone, but the monthly cost is holding us back. I would have gotten an iPhone MUCH earlier, but it took me a LONG time to rationalize the monthly increase.

Sorry verizon is better. Right now I'm with AT&T. But if apple goes with verizon I'll switch to verizon cuz in my basement I get no reception and my mom's verizon phone I get good coverage. OH AT&T does not work in dead zone's & verizon does

I am in Minneapolis (proper) and if I have anything less than 4 bars its rare. I haven't traveled with it much outside the Mpls metro area (Seattle metro and S.Florida once), but I can count on one hand my dropped calls since I bought the iPhone in October of 2008. As I sit at my workspace in a West Mpls suburb I have 5 bars...As a former Sprint customer for 8 years (no other carrier before it), I heart, love, lust...whatever the word, roll-over minutes. ATT may have won my devotion because of that alone.

@Joseph
"Sorry verizon is better. Right now I’m with AT&T. But if apple goes with verizon I’ll switch to verizon cuz in my basement I get no reception and my mom’s verizon phone I get good coverage. OH AT&T does not work in dead zone’s & verizon does"
For YOU in YOUR basement Verizon is better. No one works in dead zones, that's why they are called dead zones. This is a porblem I run into all of the time with people's opinions on things:
"VZW is better."
"Why is VZW better?"
"Because VZW works in my basement."
or
"16GB of storage is enough for me, so its enough for anyone."
People extrapolate their personal experience in their personal space to be meaningful outside of those confines and its just not always so. There are areas where ATT coverage blows and there are areas where VZW coverage blows, but neither of them got to be where they are by sucking completely. You gain nothing by being loyal to a carrier unless they are loyal to you.

I love my iphone and have no problem with at&t. What i do hate is people with other carriers using a iphone. Do they really get all the features we are getting? I dont think apple should extend the iphone to any other carrier...

I love everything Apple, but I won't buy an iPhone until we are allowed to choose our own carrier.

I am so happy with at&t and the Iphone. I don't understand why people say att's network sucks.Every where i go i get reception, just last week i was out on vacation in the Dominican Republic and let me tell you the phone works perfect and i MEAN PERFECT. I will never leave att.

AT&Ts pricing just illustrates what crooks they are. All of their plans are BAD VALUE TO THE CONSUMER. When I called to express concern, the sales rep laughed at me and told me I was crazy if I thought what I thought. He even went so far as to say that not one person has called in with the same concern and I'm the first and only person who feels that way. I told him thank you, hung up, called the Better Business Bureau, reported AT&T and then cancelled my account. I couldn't be happier being back at Verizon.

I have used many carriers over the 20 years I've been a cell customer and frankly I don't understand all the hate for ATT. I have no complaints and have paid twice to get away from different carriers that promised everything and delivered nothing. I hope they stay because while I love my iPhone it would be a difficult to go back to another carrier and get less than I have now.

Any company that has gone bankrupt as many times as you know who, what does that tell you? Besides VZ trades higher than that other company. I have NEVER had WORST customer service ever then I did with that other company. I'm sorry Sprint was the worst customer service followed by that other company!

AT&T is the best carrier In Tampa area Florida never lost 3g. No other carrier can handle the traffic and abuse to the network iPhone users gie since they are that much better.
And look it up it's a proven fact the average iPhone user uses more than 10x the other smartphone user on AT&T. And they are the ones that have have the iPhone.
iPhone is 9 million and other is 20 million

When I was with ATT I had so many problems. I travel a lot an when I went to Chicago, ATL, D.C. I had no service what so ever. I stay in Kentucky not to far from Nashville and that is where one of the head quarters are located still no service. I switched to Verizon and loved it I get service everywhere. I have had the iPhone and still have it put away but useless. Apple should expand the carriers. More money is to be made. ATT is a money grabber with their difficult contracts and limitations. Sprint and T-mobile should not get the phone because the phone because hey are not up to par with technology partials. And also CDMA/EVDO HTC, Samsung, BlackBerry have all made this possible so why cant APPLE. Someone out their can do it they just arent trying hard enough to do it. Also Verizon needs to stop controlling what gets put onto the phone make it raw. Many phones have special features but are taken off do to lack of thought. I am a heavy Apple user meaning I have a MAc, Ipod Touch, App TV, basically every thing they make.

@Joseph
"Sorry verizon is better. Right now I’m with AT&T. But if apple goes with verizon I’ll switch to verizon cuz in my basement I get no reception and my mom’s verizon phone I get good coverage. OH AT&T does not work in dead zone’s & verizon does"
For YOU in YOUR basement Verizon is better. No one works in dead zones, that's why they are called dead zones. This is a porblem I run into all of the time with people's opinions on things:
"VZW is better."
"Why is VZW better?"
"Because VZW works in my basement."
or
"16GB of storage is enough for me, so its enough for anyone."
People extrapolate their personal experience in their personal space to be meaningful outside of those confines and its just not always so. There are areas where ATT coverage blows and there are areas where VZW coverage blows, but neither of them got to be where they are by sucking completely. You gain nothing by being loyal to a carrier unless they are loyal to you.