iPhone Married to AT&T Through 2010

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Non-AT&T subscribers may have given up hope landing iPhones last year when many sources originally reported that Apple and AT&T had signed a five year exclusivity agreement, but new details seem to indicate that the coveted device could be escaping to other carriers much sooner. According to a report in USA Today, AT&T’s agreement only extends to 2010, meaning iPhones could be cropping up elsewhere in less than two years.

Contradicting the commonly held assumption that AT&T had secured the iPhone straight through until 2012, USA Today’s Leslie Cauley reported that the exclusivity agreement was recently extended by a year to through 2010, indicating that earlier reports were dead wrong.

How did AT&T secure such a hotly contested commodity? The company pays Apple $300 for every iPhone sold, putting the iPhone 3G at the $199 price point we know today, and ensuring that it remains the sole domain of AT&T for years to come. For its part, AT&T hopes the exclusivity and affordability of the phone will lure over long-term subscribers.

Although some time in 2010 now remains the standing deadline for AT&T to give up iPhone exclusivity, the recent extension proves that things could still certainly change by the time it rolls around.