AT&T Fighting to Keep the iPhone Locked Down Until 2011

Paul Lilly

If you've been eyeing the iPhone ever since it came out but have been reluctant to switch from your cellular service provider to AT&T, then you may want to rethink that approach. That's because AT&T, who struck gold when it inked a deal with Apple to be the exclusive iPhone carrier, is in discussions to extend its contract until 2011, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal .

When asked to comment on the talks, an Apple spokeswoman offered little other information, saying only "We have a great relationship with AT&T."

And vice versa. According to AT&T, it has added 4.3 million iPhone subscribers in the second half of 2008, many of which -- about 40 percent -- were new to AT&T. But if AT&T is going to secure exclusivity rights to the iPhone for at least a year after its initial deal comes to an end, it's going to have to make sense for Apple as well, who will face increased pressure from Google's Android platform as the open-source OS starts to spread beyond T-Mobile's G1. And with Android 1.5 adding a bevy of new features, things could get awfully interesting in round 2.

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