Despite rumors that Apple’s iPhone would soon be available on carriers other than AT&T, recently unearthed documents paint a different picture: they apparently confirm that AT&T and Apple signed a five-year exclusive deal in 2007, which means no Verizon version until at least 2012.
Engadget dug up some musty and overlooked court filings that include assertions from Apple that the AT&T deal runs for five years:
Here’s the deal: an ongoing California class-action lawsuit filed in 2007 claims that Apple and AT&T illegally exerted a monopoly over iPhone service by telling customers the iPhone’s required service contract was two years long when the Apple / AT&T exclusivity deal was actually for five years — thus requiring buyers to re-up with AT&T for three years (and not, say, T-Mobile) if they wanted to keep using the iPhone. Obviously Apple had to respond to these allegations, and in addition to arguing that no one was ever promised an unlocked iPhone after two years, the company’s lawyers repeatedly confirm the existence of the five-year agreement while noting it was publicly reported in USA Today.
Engadget points out that the initial contract could have been amended since 2007. But don’t expect any answers from Apple or AT&T if you’re hoping that’s the case.