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Did AT&T provide cheap iPad data rates to keep iPhone exclusivity?

In a country seemingly obsessed with the question "When is Verizon going to get the iPhone?," it's surprising that AT&T's exclusive iPhone deal with Apple has lasted this long. A post in Computerworld today quotes Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech, who believes that AT&T squeezed another 6 months of exclusive iPhone rights out of Apple by agreeing to provide iPad users with 3G data plans at 50% of their normal cost.

Marshall and many other analysts expected AT&T's iPhone monopoly to end this summer, but now agree that it will be at least the first quarter of 2011 before Verizon gets a chance to sell the hot Apple smartphone. Many sources had told Marshall that Verizon would land the iPad data plan deal, something that of course did not happen. AT&T offered no-contract, cut-rate deals on data plans for the iPad, and that unprecedented step got Marshall thinking about an AT&T / Apple deal.

AT&T and Apple have not replied to requests for comments on the alleged deal.

[via MacRumors]

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