Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 28, 2009
For months now, Sprint Nextel has been drumming up publicity for the soon-to-be-launched Palm Pre smartphone. Due to go on sale on June 6, the phone was supposed to be exclusive to Sprint, and to help the wireless carrier combat rivals and stem subscriber losses. Subscribers have been leaving Sprint for months, attracted by rival carriers’ flashy handset line-ups.
What’s unclear is just how long Sprint has an exclusive for the Palm Pre for. Presenting at a conference, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam has just announced a number of new devices to be available from the carrier “over the next six months or so” — and they include the Palm Pre. “With general expectations for a Palm Pre exclusive at Sprint through the holidays, VZW’s comments that it will have the Pre on its network is likely to be the most surprising,” UBS analyst Maynard Um wrote in a May 28 research note.
But Sprint spokesman James Fisher has just told me that the Pre is exclusive to the carrier “at least through 2009.”
Are you confused yet? I know that I am. Either Verizon Wireless or Sprint Nextel might have gotten their messages with Palm crossed.
Clearly, it would be to Sprint’s advantage to keep an exclusive to the Pre throughout the holiday season. That way, Sprint will be armed with the Pre for this summer, when AT&T is expected to launch new models of the best-selling iPhone smartphone. And it will be ready to compete with rivals during the holiday season, when most Americans still buy their phones. Palm’s shares have rallied 10.5%, to $11.64 so far on the news. Sprint’s have remained stable.