Rumor Mill: Is AT&T losing its iPhone hold this week?

AT&T Mobility may lose its exclusive grip on Apple's iPhone later this week when Apple is expected to unveil its tablet computer. According to a report in the New York Post, Apple will name Verizon Wireless as one of the partners for the tablet, and likely will couple that announcement by naming Verizon as a carrier partner for the iPhone.

Additionally, according to the blog Hot Hardware, AT&T will lose its exclusivity on Wednesday. Numerous reports have pegged AT&T's exclusive contract for the iPhone to end in June, and over the past few weeks rumors have been steadily percolating that Verizon Wireless would be named as a new iPhone partner.

The iPhone has been one of AT&T's key growth engines over the past several quarters, drawing in new wireless subscribers while its landline division has suffered. However, AT&T has come under fire for poor network performance and has admitted that its network in some metropolitan areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, has needed improvements. The company also signaled earlier this month that it was preparing for a post-iPhone future. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, AT&T said it aims to support all smartphone application stores, and pledged support for Google's Android OS and Palm's webOS platform.

Representatives from AT&T and Verizon declined to comment. An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For more:
- see this New York Post article
- see this Hot Hardware post
- see this Daily Finance post

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