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Sprint Hints at iPhone In Lawsuit Against AT&T / T-Mobile

Earlier today, U.S. carrier Sprint filed a lawsuit again the AT&T / T-Mobile merger, citing “competitive advantages” and an entrenched duopoly that would make it difficult for Sprint to compete against giants such as Verizon and AT&T. In the document filing – which claims the acquisition would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act – This is my next has dug out an interesting tidbit in which Sprint seems to be hinting at Apple’s iPhone.

According to Sprint, “Apple gave Verizon a time-to-market advantage for the iPhone” in early 2011, whereas “Sprint has had to compete without access to the iPhone for nearly five years” (emphasis added). The curious wording is no confirmation of Sprint getting the iPhone after it first launched in 2007, although from a speculative standpoint it might suggest the company will soon be able to get access to the iPhone after nearly five years. Verizon actually got the iPhone four years after AT&T (the original exclusive partner in the United States), and as Nilay Patel notes, a time-to-market advantage “would only be an actual advantage if other carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile were set to get the device later on”.

Obviously, this piece of information is only worth reporting as a follow-up to The Wall Street Journal’s recent report of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint getting the next-generation iPhone in mid-October. For a timeline of iPhone 5 news and speculation, check out our rumor roundup and retrospective.

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