Matt Hamblin at Computerworld writes:

AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega strongly implied today that the carrier’s exclusive deal to sell the iPhone in the U.S. is ending, although he gave no details in a conference call with analysts…"We have a legacy of having a great portfolio…that will continue after the iPhone is no longer exclusive to us," de la Vega said. "We think we will continue after the iPhone…to drive [results]…."

AT&T announced earlier today that iPhones were 75% of their new Smartphone activations and brought 40% of their customers from other carriers so losing exclusivity might not be in their best interests.  Interestingly,  de la Vega noted the advantages of AT&T’s 3G technology (talking and using data at the same time) vs. Verizon/Sprint’s services which lose data when a voice call is initiated. 

He also talked up Android devices and eBook readers saying:

"Even if we lose exclusivity [of the iPhone], we will be the only carrier with HSPA 7.2 [a network specification being deployed at AT&T] and [new devices] will work on our network faster," de la Vega said. "I feel as strongly as ever [about] the capability of devices in our lineup and [am] super-excited about the deals with e-readers and personal navigation devices. "

De la Vega also said AT&T is now working with device manufacturers to build Android phones that will "work best" on the AT&T network. "They are terrific devices and much better on AT&T than on anybody else’s network."

With Verizon’s latest Droid/iPhone attack ads, and Sprint ahead in 4G coverage, we’re thinking a new CDMA front-runner could be emerging.  Would anybody else out there be interested in a WiMAX iPhone?  Also, Tmobile would be an easy choice as they use the same GSM/EDGE network as AT&T, albeit with differenct 3G frequencies.

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