Rumor of Apple Partnering with Verizon (again) – I Doubt It. But Apple Needs a Second U.S. Carrier

There was a lot of buzz during the summer about the possibility of Apple escaping from its exclusive deal with AT&T and getting a second U.S. carrier in the form of Verizon. Then, there was buzz about AT&T cozying up with Apple enough to keep it away from Verizon. Then, Verizon made a big deal about partnering with Google and later announcing it would carry the first Android 2.0 based phone in the form of the Motorola Droid. And, now, we see this…

Apple predicted to sacrifice ‘sweetheart’ AT&T deal for Verizon

I have a hard time believing Verizon will carry the iPhone after seeing its aggressive “iDon’t” ads for the Droid. However, Apple’s iPhone market with AT&T’s customer base is probably near or at saturation. There just aren’t that many more AT&T customers they upsell to or convince customers at other carriers to move over. Apple has to partner with a second major U.S. carrier to grow their marketshare in 2010. But, will it be Verizon? Verizon is their best bet to grow marketshare. But, that boat may have sailed. Sprint appears to keep betting on Palm. So, that leaves T-Mobile which is the smallest of the big four and also the most miniscule 3G footprint.