Sprint employees clam up about iPhone rumor

Aug 30, 2011
Tech

The iPhone rumors have been fast and furious as fall and the supposed release of the next iPhone looms. But one more interesting rumor – that the iPhone is coming to Sprint when the next iteration launches supposedly in October – has Sprint employees remaining mum. According to a story from PCWorld, Sprint employees have […]

The iPhone rumors have been fast and furious as fall and the supposed release of the next iPhone looms. But one more interesting rumor – that the iPhone is coming to Sprint when the next iteration launches supposedly in October – has Sprint employees remaining mum.

According to a story from PCWorld, Sprint employees have been told by their corporate overlords to keep quiet about the possibility of the iPhone coming to the network, and not to confirm or deny such speculation.

In fact, it appears an internal memo has been circulated among stores by Sprint management, acknowledging a Wall Street Journal story that reported on the rumor and telling Sprint employees not to comment about the possibility one way or another. SprintFeed posted the memo in a story, which tells employees to take the “no comment” approach.

The memo doesn’t actually give away any information, but it’s interesting that Sprint would choose to go with such a decidedly suspicious approach to dealing with the rumor. Of course, that’s no kind of confirmation that Sprint really is getting the iPhone 5 on its network, but it certainly doesn’t help stem speculation. Then again, Sprint might be unwilling to burn any potential bridges with Apple by saying anything on the matter, or is just hoping to keep its employees from shooting their mouths off about the possibility and misinform customers.

The WSJ reported that “sources familiar with the matter” had told it that Sprint would be getting the iPhone 5 in October along with Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The memo says that Sprint employees can acknowledge that they’ve heard the rumor, but they can’t speculate.

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There’s also an interesting point to consider, as PC World writes:

It’s possible that even Sprint doesn’t know whether it’s getting the iPhone 5 yet. Remember, when Verizon was expected to get the iPhone 4, the carrier seemed to be unsure until the launch was imminent. ‘If the iPhone comes to us, it’s because Apple thinks it’s time,’ Verizon’s then-CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in November, two months before Apple announced the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network. ‘Our interests are beginning to come together more but they have to take steps to align their technology with ours.’

That’s definitely a very real possibility, given Apple’s history with information. If Sprint really does end up with the iPhone on its network, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out in its story, that development could undermine its battle against AT&T and its proposed $39 billion merger with T-Mobile. Sprint is of the position that it will be impossible to compete with AT&T if it gobbles up T-Mobile and further narrows the field of wireless providers, but with the uber-popular iPhone in its corner and the ability to even the playing field against Verizon and Ma Bell, Sprint’s high ground could be lowered.

Meanwhile, no news is no news, unfortunately, although preorders for the iPhone 5 are rumored to begin on Sept. 30, a mere 31 days from today. It might be a good idea for everyone, including Sprint customers, to hold off on upgrading their phones for a month.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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