iPhone 3GS: I want one, but not from AT&T

So it was with interest that I read a News.com story today bearing the headline "AT&T chief: iPhone won't be exclusive forever." by John Dodge
Written by John Dodge, Contributor

I am soooo locked into a Verizon cell phone contract, it isn't funny. I pay for four phones and the family all just upgraded so I am stuck for another two years.

But I badly want an iPhone 3GS, which few would would dispute is best mobile handset with the best music, best browser in a handheld, a great phone and hundreds if not thousands of apps. My Blackberry Curve's browser is unacceptably slow and a subset of the real thing.

As everyone knows, AT&T has an "exclusive" with Apple to sell the iPhone.

But a News.comstory today bearing the headline "AT&T chief: iPhone won't be exclusive forever" offers hope. Well, that's a relief, but I don't plan on living forever or even just short of it and before I die, I want an iPhone without trashing  a cell phone service contract. There was no elaboration on "forever."

The story is written from AT&T's point of view given the speaker was AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. He brags about how good the exclusive is and how it has given AT&T the "lowest [customer] churn" in the history of its data network. Without the iPhone, AT&T is just, well, AT&T. With it, it's AT&T+iPhone.

That's fine for AT&T's well-being, but what about the rest of us? About six years ago, I was on AT&T's cell network and it dropped calls like mad.

i want an iPhone 3GS from Verizon whose network I like best. For some reason I like Verizon...odd considering that I hate electric, cable and insurance companies and anything else that regularly sucks money out me (except my college aged and soon-to-be self-supporting kids).

Isn't the iPhone "exclusive" restraint of trade, anti-competitive or anti-social? For sure, it's anti-consumer and anti-me. You have to sell your cell sole to AT&T to get one. Apple, can't you do something for the rest of us? What's this thing you have for AT&T whose name conjures the ghost of monopolistic Ma Bell? Ahh, that's it. AT&T wants the iPhone all for itself just like Ma Bell's century-long exclusive on telephony.

I hope Stephenson is sending a signal that the exclusive is coming to a quick end. On the other hand, "forever" is an awfully vague timeframe. Let's hope forever means 2010 or earlier.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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