AT&T iPhone Exclusivity Expires in 2010, AT&T Asking for Extension?

The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T's exclusive offering of the iPhone will expire next year but that AT&T is working with Apple to extend it to 2011.

But AT&T's exclusive deal to carry the iPhone in the U.S. expires next year, according to people familiar with the matter, and Mr. Stephenson is now in discussions with Apple Inc. to get an extension until 2011.

The exact length of exclusivity has been a bit murky with initial reports claiming as far out as 2012 but the most recent reports corroborating the 2010 date.

AT&T has benefited from the exclusive iPhone offering attracting 4.3 million iPhone subscribers in the second half of 2008 with about 40% of them being new to AT&T. If the agreement does expire, this could open up the iPhone to become available with other U.S. carriers. This may, however, require some variations in hardware in order to accommodate other networks.