It’s been about a month since Apple unveiled the iPhone to an audience who generally responded with ooo’s and aaah’s. I’m sure everybody knows by now about Apple’s exclusive deal with Cingular to be the sole provider in the United States for iPhone service. They have five years to the iPhone, all to themselves. But, was Cingular the back-up plan?  According to USA Today, Verizon was actually offered the deal first. This happened over two years ago! Verizon declined the opportunity saying that they had nothing bad to say about Apple and the iPhone, just that they couldn’t come to a deal that was beneficial on both ends.

Here are a few reasons why Verizon may have said ‘no thanks’

  • Apple wanted sole control over customer service issues with the iPhone
  • Apple also wanted a portion of monthly fees
  • iPhones would have been limited to sell only in Verizon and Apple stores- no distribution partners like Wal-Mart of Best Buy would be able to sell them.

So far there has been no word on all of the details on the Cingular deal, other than the 5 year exclusivity. Both Apple and Cingular have talked up the great relationship that they have with each other, so they must have agreed somewhere along the line. Additionally, they haven’t disclosed the financial terms of the agreement with Apple.  I’d be really curious to know how much they paid to have exclusive rights to the iPhone for 5 years! That takes us all the way until 2012 when there will probably be plenty of other “copy-cat” iPhone-ish options available.

Source: USA Today