Will T-Mobile Get the iPhone? If So, What About Sprint?

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BGR.com has what it claims to be photos of a prototype iPhone running on T-Mobile’s network. It looks like a standard—albeit white—iPhone 4 model, which BGR asserts may just be for “testing the new T-Mobile-friendly radio with its current iPhone 4 hardware, possibly in preparation for integration in a future device.”

It’d be odd for T-Mobile to introduce availability of the iPhone 4 when the next iPhone model is supposedly right around the corner, in other words. And if AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile gets approved, this could all pretty much be a moot point anyway.

But let’s say the T-Mobile-AT&T deal doesn’t go through for some reason, and T-Mobile gets the iPhone when the next model rolls out (either June or September or sometime in between). That’d leave Sprint twisting in the wind.

It’s to Apple’s advantage to have its phones available on every network here in the U.S. so it’d be interesting to know whether Apple’s deal with Verizon includes some sort of “no Sprint” clause, since Sprint and Verizon use similar network technology (CDMA).

The biggest hurdle when getting the iPhone onto Verizon was Apple’s exclusivity deal with AT&T, so the question becomes whether the iPhone’s move to Verizon made it non-exclusive in general, or if there’s some sort of secondary exclusivity deal in place with Verizon now, too.

If the phone is truly being tested to be released on T-Mobile, it’ll be interesting to see if Sprint has an opportunity to get in on the action, too. Or we could just wait for Verizon to acquire Sprint, since that seems to be the way the mobile industry has been heading lately.

Of course, this T-Mobile information should be treated as a rumor (the Verizon acquiring Sprint thing isn’t true at all, mind you) unless we get official word sometime down the line.

More on TIME.com:

Best Buy Shows White iPhone Launch Date as April 27

How to Encrypt Your iPhone’s Location Data (Consolidated.db)

Verizon Fights Back with Strong iPhone Sales

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