Sprint Nextel Corp. will begin selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October, people familiar with the matter said, closing a huge hole in the No. 3 U.S. carrier's lineup and giving Apple Inc. another channel for selling its popular phone.
The timing, however, indicates Apple's new iPhone will hit the market later than expected and too late to contribute to sales in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in September. Most observers had expected the device to arrive next month.
Sprint is said to begin carrying the iPhone 4 at the same time as it releases the iPhone 5. Interestingly, a report from earlier today predicted that a new lower priced version of the iPhone 4 is set to debut alongside a larger screen iPhone 5 at the end of September.
Recent evidence has shown that the iPhone 5 is likely a world phone which will let customers move between carriers easily.
At the end of the second quarter Sprint had 52 million subscribers, Verizon had 106 million, and AT&T had 99 million.