Sprint Makes Multibillion Dollar Bet on the iPhone

If there’s one device that could save Sprint from a losing battle for customers with wireless giants Verizon and AT&T, it’s the iPhone.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told the company’s board that the carrier agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Today, a purchase of that size amounts to $20 billion US.

“This is a bet-the-company kind of thing,” The WSJ quoted a person familiar with Sprint’s decision making.

Such a large bet on Apple is telling of the drastic measures Sprint is willing to take in order to remain a contender in the wireless carrier arena. The purchase will take a huge chunk out of Sprint’s projected income, but perhaps could help the carrier bounce back after its merger with Nextel in 2005.

Sprint’s lack of carrying the iPhone has been the biggest reason customers leave or switch from Sprint’s network, the Journal reports Sprint CEO Dan Hesse saying. The carrier plans to subsidize each iPhone to about $500 in order to attract buyers and stay competitive with rivals. Currently on AT&T and Verizon an unsubsidized iPhone costs $650.

Spokespersons from Apple and Sprint declined to comment on the rumor.

AT&T was the first carrier to offer the iPhone since the device first launched in 2007, while Verizon joined the club earlier this year. Sales from the iPhone and iPad continue to provide Apple with record profits, which Sprint is hoping to take advantage of. The phone has continued to top the charts with regards to both sales and consumer satisfaction. Mounds of evidence have been stacking up that Sprint will get the iPhone come Tuesday’s press event.

Full Story Via Wired