Did iPad Data Deal Extend AT&T’s iPhone Exclusivity?
There’s an interesting theory being floated today by Broadpoint AmTech research analyst Brian Marshall: By agreeing to offer “breakthrough” 3G prepaid data plans for Apple’s iPad, AT&T won an exclusive on the device and extension of its iPhone exclusivity agreement.
The reason, Marshall tells Computerworld, is likely those cut-rate data plans AT&T (T) currently offers for the iPad. 50 percent off the carrier’s normal wireless data rates was evidently an offer Apple (AAPL) couldn’t refuse, one perhaps good enough for it to oust Verizon (VZ) as an iPad launch partner and delay the debut of the iPhone on that carrier’s network.
“AT&T had to do something dramatic to get the iPad,” he said. “For that pricing [on the iPad], AT&T was able to negotiate a six-month extension on the iPhone exclusive.”
Seems a plausible argument to me, though it’s obviously sheer speculation on Marshall’s part. AT&T’s exclusivity agreement is reportedly set to end this year. If it doesn’t, well, Marshall may have been on to something here, though we’ll likely never know for sure.