Report: Sprint Nextel to offer iPhone 5 in October

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Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) will begin offering Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5 in mid-October, says a report in the Wall Street Journal, giving the operator a significant boost in competing with rivals Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless and AT&T (NYSE: T) Mobility--especially since Sprint is the only operator to offer an unlimited data plan.

The report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, also said Sprint will sell the iPhone 4 at the same time it starts selling the iPhone 5.

Verizon activated 2.3 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, and AT&T activated 3.6 million. Apple shipped 20.3 million iPhones globally in its most recent quarter, making the company the world's largest smartphone vendor.

The new iPhone is expected to be introduced in September and go on sale in October. It's likely that the next iPhone will be a dual-mode GSM/CDMA smartphone, which corresponds with comments that Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo made in May at an investor conference.

He said Verizon will offer the next model of the iPhone at the same time as AT&T and that the Verizon version of the next iPhone will work in the same number of countries as AT&T's version--comments that likely indicate the next version of Apple's iPhone will support both CDMA and GSM.

Verizon operates a CDMA network and AT&T runs a GSM network; Sprint also operates a CDMA network.

For more:
- see this FierceWireless article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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