AT&T used iPad to extend iPhone exclusivity deal?

Isn't it interesting how AT&T was so willing to give iPad users such a good deal on 3G wireless access? ComputerWorld reports that according to BroadPoint research analyst, Brian Marhall, the deal may have cost Verizon a bit more waiting time before seeing a CDMA iPhone.

In Marshall's opinion, Apple had to give AT&T a six month extension on their iPhone exclusivity before AT&T would be willing to support such great iPad 3G plans. Keep in mind, these plans are pre-paid and can cost either $15 or $30 a month. Everything about these plans seems non-AT&T.

"AT&T had to do something dramatic to get the iPad," said Brian Marshall, a Wall Street analyst at BroadPoint AmTech. AT&T's move was to discount their normal wireless data plans by 50% to iPad customers.

As part of the tit-for-tat, AT&T got what it wanted. "For that pricing [on the iPad], AT&T was able to negotiate a six-month extension on the iPhone exclusive."

Assuming the above is true, the contract extension will just prolong the inevitable. Because of it, Verizon won't be getting the iPhone until, at least, Q1 2011. Keep in mind, analysts still believe that they will, in fact, be getting it. The question now is, when? Neither Apple, nor AT&T have confirmed Marshall's speculation.

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