Sprint's iPhone win may help AT&T's case for acquiring T-Mobile

In a weird twist, some experts are saying that recent reports that Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will begin selling the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 this fall may actually weaken the company's argument against AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. 

Sprint, which has been a vehement opponent to the deal, has argued that the U.S. wireless market is dominated by Verizon and AT&T and that, as a result, Sprint is often prevented from getting the best wireless handsets. If Sprint lands the iPhone, that could impact the company's anti-merger position. Keith Hylton, a professor at Boston University's School of Law, told CNNMoney: "If you have the iPhone, it becomes hard to argue that you're locked out of the best handsets."

Sprint declined to comment on how the iPhone 5 could affect its argument against AT&T (Sprint has also declined to comment on whether it will sell the iPhone).

AT&T has said repeatedly argued there is plenty of competition in the U.S. wireless market.

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint will begin selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October. 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. Landing the iPhone 5 as well as the iPhone 4 could help Sprint both reduce churn and attract subscribers. If Sprint keeps its $79.99 unlimited smartphone data plan, the carrier also could have a major leg up on Verizon and AT&T, both of which have discontinued their unlimited data plans in favor of tiered data plans. (Verizon launched the iPhone with unlimited data, and subsequently introduced tiered data pricing.)

For more:
- see this CNNMoney article

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