There were a lot of surprised gasps this year when Apple
announced the iPad’s 3G service would be provided by AT&T. Then there were
a few more when the low monthly cost of the service was unveiled.

Turns out, that deal might have bought the phone company a
bit more exclusivity time with the iPhone.

BroadPoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall, in a note to investors,
says AT&T has extended its exclusive deal with Apple for another six
months. If true, that means the growing rumors that the iPhone is finally going
to hit Verizon stores this year may have gone up in smoke.

The betting now is that 2011 will be the year the iPhone
extends its footprint. But that gives AT&T a lot of time to find a new way
to keep the contract to irself. 

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