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US mobile carriers shed possible light on Apple iPhone 5 plans

22 Sep 2011

Reports surfaced today that Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 at a special event on 4 October. But when exactly will the new iPhone reach consumers, and which carriers will offer it?

Two recent reports have shed some light on the matter, at least in the US. An AT&T support page discovered by GottaBeMobile indicates that the carrier could start offering discounts to customers due for an upgrade on 13 October, suggesting that this could be the release date for the iPhone 5.

Other carriers, however, may not be so quick to offer the new handset. Sprint, a relatively new iPhone carrier, will apparently not get the handset until next year. Reports indicate that the company is not counting on getting any additional sales from the iPhone in 2011.

Similarly, T-Mobile has indicated that it does not expect to bolster its 2011 sales numbers with an iPhone release, suggesting that new carriers will be shut out of the device at least until the end of 2011.

These reports, however, may ultimately end up meaning very little. Apple is notoriously hard to pin down for release dates, and we've already had false starts this year for the iPhone 5.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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