Originally Posted by wnurse
What exactly is enough 3G coverage?. Also would apple be violating the terms of agreement if their iphone works where AT&T has coverage?. If a 3G iphone worked where At&T has 3G coverage, then AT&T would not be the exclusive provider of service for the iphone in those areas now would it?. I guess it would depend on exactly how exclusive this exclusive agreement is. If apple could do this, why wait.. what's the benefit to them of waiting?. If they can offer 3G service, they would have gone ahead. They cannot define what sufficient coverage is. That's a subjective definition. I am sure (i'd bet my salary) that AT&T has 3G coverage in places where Verizon does not.. does this now make verizon coverage not adequate?. I understand Nashua is personal to you but you cannot extrapolate from your situation.
"Enough" coverage would be whatever Apple managed to negotiate in this hypothetical clause in their contract with AT&T. "Enough" would have been defined in some measurable way, like percentage of the population reached, square miles at or above a given signal strength, or a list of towns and cities.
I never said anything about Apple having 3G now and holding back on it. This is speculation on how Apple might manage to have some wiggle room over the next five years. I've tried to Google up some comparative stats on 3G coverage by different carriers in the US but haven't found anything yet. I have the general impression that AT&T is well behind Verizon and Sprint in 3G deployment, perhaps ahead of T-Mobile.
If true, it certainly wouldn't have been unreasonable of Apple to say, "Once our 3G phone is ready to go, unless you've caught up to these other guys (or at least X% of what these other guys cover), we can sell our 3G phone to other buyers."
AT&T might accept terms like that if they felt sanguine about expanding their 3G coverage in time.