iPhone: Sprint Prepping for Debut on Its Network Report

It took Verizon Wireless four years to break AT&Ts exclusive stranglehold on Apples iPhone. Now a new report says it wont be long before Americas third-largest carrier gets its hands on the device.

A version of the iPhone likely the new iPhone 5 (expected to be called the iPhone 4S) is in advanced testing,” according to sources of Apple-loving website 9to5Mac. And thats not all: The site says Apple has ordered cell towers that are compatible with Sprints wireless network to use on its campus later this year.

Theres more: Supposedly, the site says, the iPhone has made an appearance in Sprints R&D department. The device isnt 4G, which is what most analysts are predicting.

While most iPhone rumors feature one tidbit of information thats easy to debunk and turns out not to come true, this one is packed with details. But were going to dismiss it anyway, for now. An Apple-Sprint team-up seems unlikely for many reasons, but the biggest is need. Apple certainly doesnt need Sprint, the nations third-largest carrier especially if a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile is approved, giving the Silicon Valley giant access to another large pool of customers. Since it was nearly four years before Apple joined forces with Verizon Wireless the No. 1 carrier in terms of subscriber numbers theres no big reason the company would be in a rush to work with Sprint, which probably faces a rough future running a distant third to the telco giants ahead of it.

Meantime, a new Web-based survey from Jacobs Media shows that iPhone users are most loyal among smartphone owners in the U.S. and Canada.

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