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How The iPhone 5 Could Help AT&T & Verizon Kill Sprint

The consolidation of the US mobile phone market has accelerated as AT&T confirmed the acquisition earlier this week of T-Mobile in a deal that's worth $39 billion and which will not only add 34 million more users to the network but also eliminate one big competitor.

The purchase of T-Mobile by AT&T also highlighted the fact that T-Mobile was suffering from heavy customer churn with its users leaving the mobile phone operator for AT&T and then Verizon Wireless when the latter introduced its own iPhone 4.

Sprint will be suffering the same fate when the iPhone 5 is released in June and although it does have some interesting (and intriguing) phones like the HTC Evo 3D, the LG Rumor Touch or that cool dual screen Kyocera smartphone, none of them will be able to rival the iPhone 5.

Fatally for Sprint, the fact that it is pushing and investing in WiMax may prove to be fatal as Apple hasn't yet committed to supporting WiMax-based handsets which means that Sprint won't be able to buy and offer iPhone 5 from the grey-market just like T-Mobile did in the UK a few years ago.

Where does that leave US customers? Sprint will have a very hard time competing against two behemoths that have a combined user base of nearly 200 million users; it only has 50 million customers and despite many past rumours, we don't expect Apple to answer Sprint's prayer with an iPhone.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.