AT&T CEO’s ‘3G iPhone’ comment intended to send message to Apple CEO Steve Jobs?

“AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson this week said what I have been saying since last July — that Apple and AT&T would soon introduce an iPhone that works with AT&T’s faster 3G wireless data network. I said it because I had heard last summer that AT&T was already testing 3G iPhones in Florida, but the better question is why Stephenson said it and why now? For AT&T, his announcement looks, frankly, stupid,” Robert X. Cringely writes for PBS.

“Was it a simple slip? Or is the guy so out of touch with reality that he doesn’t realize that with a few words he has probably deferred — maybe forever — at least a million new customers worth to Wall Street at least $1 billion in market cap for his company? I don’t think Stephenson’s statement was by accident and I don’t think he is out of touch with reality. I think, instead, he was sending a $1 billion message to Apple CEO Steve Jobs,” Cringely writes.

“What I believe is troubling the relationship between AT&T and Apple is the upcoming auction for 700-MHz wireless spectrum and AT&T’s discovery that — as I have predicted for weeks — Apple will be joining Google in bidding. AT&T thought its five-year “exclusive” iPhone agreement with Apple would have precluded such a bid, but that just shows how poorly Randall Stephenson understood Steve Jobs,” Cringely writes.

“t would not surprise me at all if…, when the 700-MHz network is finally up and running, Jobs claims astonishment that the most popular data application is Voice over IP, a direct competitor to AT&T Wireless,” Cringely writes.

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Stephenson’s comment is being treated as some sort of “news” by many media outlets, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs has already said as much and more precisely, too:

“3G chipsets… are real power hogs. Most phones now have battery lives of 2 to 3 hours and that’s due to these very power-hungry 3G chipsets… [iPhone] has 8 hours of talktime life. That’s really important when you start to use the Internet and want to use the phone to listen to music. We’ve got to see the battery lives for 3G get back up into the 5+ hour range. Hopefully we’ll see that late next year.” – Apple CEO Steve Jobs introducing iPhone to the UK, September 18, 2007. [bold emphasis added by MacDailyNews]

Related articles:
3G iPhone coming in late 2008 – November 29, 2007
Google committed to buying wireless spectrum – November 16, 2007
Google may bid with at least one partner on FCC’s 700MHz wireless spectrum auction – October 25, 2007
Cringely: What’s going on with Apple/Google relationship? – October 19, 2007
Apple eyes FCC’s wireless auction – September 10, 2007
FCC ruling on 700 MHz airwave spectrum auction grants only two of Google’s four requests – August 01, 2007