After four years of waiting, it appears that Sprint will finally get the chance to carry Apple’s smartphone on its network. Among other things, Apple is expected to announce a new partnership with the carrier at tomorrow’s iPhone event.

A few moments ago, The Wall Street Journal (who confirmed the Sprint-bound iPhone back in August) posted an interesting article regarding the new partnership between Apple and the third largest US operator.

The deal reportedly requires Sprint to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next 4 years, costing the company nearly $20 billion. But why in the world would Sprint make such a staggering commitment? BGR believes it’s for iPhone 5 exclusivity…

Sprint has essentially ‘bet the company’ on the iPhone, as the carrier will reportedly lose money on the smartphone deal until 2014. The wager could pay off big time though, as the operator is now rumored to get iPhone 5 exclusivity this Fall:

BGR’s Jonathan Geller:

“I have been going back and forth for weeks with one of my incredibly solid industry contacts on a piece of information that I couldn’t really process at first — information that is so unbelievable, even from a source this solid, that I couldn’t report it. With this new WSJ report on an Apple/Sprint deal, however, it doesn’t look so crazy.

I have been told that Sprint will be getting the iPhone 5 — yes the real iPhone 5, not the iPhone 4S — as an exclusive. And it will be a 4G WiMAX device. AT&T and Verizon would launch the iPhone 4S and get the iPhone 5 some time in the first quarter of next year as an LTE device. Globally, the iPhone 5 might be available as a 4G HSPA+ device.”

Geller goes on to say that his source confirmed iPhone 5 specs, including a larger 4-inch screen and a gesture-based home button. He also mentions that the handset would be slightly larger than other models, but would be much thinner.

While the news is definitely entertaining, it seems pretty unlikely. Word on the street is that Sprint was planning on dumping its WiMAX 4G technology in favor of the more popular LTE platform. WiMAX isn’t used by any other major carrier.

On the other hand, as Geller speculates, $20 billion in guaranteed iPhone sales could be enough to sway Apple to do something crazy. Like giving the third largest carrier in the US exclusive access to its flagship 4G smartphone.

On top of its Apple partnership, Jeff pointed out to me that Sprint’s WiMAX network has been around a lot longer than the other 4G infrastructures, so it’s by far the most tested. The carrier started rolling out WiMAX back in 2008.

Even with reasoning, the entire theory sounds pretty sketchy. We still haven’t seen any leaked iPhone 5 parts, or any other evidence of the device for that matter (other than cases). Regardless, tomorrow’s iPhone event just got a little more interesting.

  • Juan

    Sprint probably couldn’t afford an exclusivity deal with Apple. Funny premise though.

  • David

    Great now maybe I can ditch AT&T and go to Sprint

  • iPhone on Sprint? this could be good news for sprint users.

  • Apple puts a lot of thought into how their customers perceive things. Forcing us to switch providers? That’s going too far. Especially for those of us who have no sprint option..

    • Eddie

      You do know there was only one carrier in the US w iPhone for 3 years

  • Binary-Stalker

    This would be stupid on Apple’s part considering they’re already getting income from AT&T and Verizon, and their userbase is biggest at AT&T.

    Three carriers is the way to go, not one.

  • Byron

    I don’t believe the exclusivity at all. However BGR’s article is hilarious. They wouldn’t even sale that well in the beginning if this was true.

  • The Wizard’s Baker

    Nice. Last carrier to offer unlimited data.

  • Francesco

    Wow this is very interesting, because for me it doesn matter which version of iphone will come for sprint.. as long as it does 🙂 I would be happy with a iPhone 4,4S, or 5 idc as long as I get my hands on one of them for Sprint

  • sOleFresh

    iSure hope this isn’t true. iWill NOT be switching to sprint either way if it is..

  • sean

    Oooo crap , credit check blues, hope i don’t have to put a deposit down

  • mike72

    wow, you guys are pumping out the link bait today, eh?

    • How is that a linkbait? If anything, it tells all the info you need to know in just a few words. I think you don’t know what linkbait is.
      Here is the definition of “linkbait” http://idb.tc/pja3Y0
      Now learn about it and use this word appropriately next time, instead of being such a downer.

      • Sam

        Lmao that is NOT the link!! Hah. If that’s what you base your definition on then I’m sorry, you just lost ALL grounds in this debate. FYI this is grounds for link bait as this title could be “interesting enough to catch someones attention”. Lmfao way to go sebastien

      • Well, this link shows several definitions of the term “linkbait”. All seem to agree that it’s a headline phrased in a certain way that it attracts links from other websites. This was obviously not the case for this post.

        Besides, yes, we write titles to catch people’s attention. What do you expect? A 5-word title that no one would want to read?

      • Binary-Stalker

        Sam, how is this linkbait? It’s a blog, not meant for just you.

        And you make spelling mistakes too, don’t claim you don’t.

  • ic0dex

    Sprint can’t offered to purchase that many iPhones. If they get the iPhone 5 then a lot of people will be unhappy with Apple. I personally think AT&T or Verizon will bet them to it. I live my AT&T service and I can care less what kind of customer service they have. Go AT&T!!!

  • Alhenny

    I had sprint for 2 years and I cried every day I’ve been with AT&T and would only swith to
    T-Mobile if they were to get it. Bottom line I hate sprint it has the worst customer service and they cut your phone off over pennies. They only phone I could ever have is an iPhone but if this is true I guess it’s the on of the rope for me.

  • Jj

    iPhone 4s. S as in Sprint

  • SPRINT sucks big time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alhenny

    APPLE co is the NewYork YANKEES of technology, who better!!!

    • fdxgncgfn

      You mean SF Giants? They just won the world series.

  • Drock

    I don’t see it happening. Apple would lose to much money if they did that. There are by far more iPhone users with AT&T that will be upgrading their iPhones once announced & Apple wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize making all that money. I am 100% sure Sprint won’t get exclusive rights to the iPhone 5. If anything at&t would get it over sprint.

  • Jason Masters

    iPhone only on sprint is troubling it will cause people to lose interest in fact it will downgrade their value sprint is a subpar company I mean haven’t you ever you seen that chapelles show about them?
    Now having it as an option yes but solely no that would be a mistake it would turn off people especially the CDMA locked down network that your stuck on.

  • Jeff

    I love coming to iDB, if for nothing else to get a good laugh every day. You have to be a moron to believe a rumor like this….

    • I think this is more than a rumor

  • STICH

    if the phone only goes to sprint, they are going to loose a lot of money because sprint network is probably the worse. In most major cities like New York for example reception is horrible and data traffic really slow.

  • mwpitt52

    I have to agree with Sebastien and BGR. I would not be surprised if Sprint only gets the iPhone 5. I wonder if you would be able to buy at full retail an unlocked GSM iPhone 5 from Sprint and run on AT&T since this is supppose to be a ” World Phone”.

  • Sprint will make the iPhone be the least bought phone in the world people likethe iPhone but not that much.

  • Sprint will make the iPhone be the least bought phone in the world people like the iPhone but not that much.