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WSJ: Sprint to take risky gamble on iPhone

Less than a day before the expected announcement of the new iPhones, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint plans to 'bet the company' on the iPhone and will purchase at least 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years, which amounts to about US$20 billion.

Sprint would subsidize each phone for about $500. The move isn't expected to generate any sort of profit until 2014. The WSJ's source tells the paper that "the projected hit to the company's operating income is 'staggering,' " but it's expected to halt the company's sales losses to Verizon and AT&T as Sprint's customers seek out the iPhone.

By this time, the iPhone going to the Sprint is a rumor that appears to have the Magic 8-Ball pointing to "yes." In mid-September, a Sprint Nextel associate told TUAW that the carrier began briefing its employees for an October launch, and Sprint restricted its mobile-tethering plans to 5 GB as of Oct. 2.

Tune into TUAW's coverage of Apple's iPhone event tomorrow with a liveblog hosted by the lovely Erica Sadun starting at 9:45 a.m. PDT (12:45 p.m. EDT.)

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