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It looks like Sprint's iPhone 5 launch will happen sometime in October. This news may be a boon for the 50 million Sprint customers itching to get their hands on an iPhone, but could also mean trouble ahead for Sprint's 3G network.
If Sprint's iPhone 5 happens in mid October, as The Wall Street Journal reports, it will join the ranks of AT&T and Verizon. Both carriers currently carry Apple popular smartphone.
Some may think that having an iPhone as an option will draw in more consumers. While it may appeal to a wider customer base, offering an iPhone may also come with some drawbacks that Sprint customers might want to be aware of. These potential drawbacks would impact not only new Sprint iPhone customers but all Sprint customers in the long run.
One is the effect of iPhones on data plans offered by mobile carriers. AT&T used to offer unlimited data plans. However, unlimited data plans are now ancient history at AT&T. Customers now must purchase data plans that grant specific amounts of bandwidth, and if customers go over their allotted amounts they will incur additional fees.
Similarly, Verizon also used to offer unlimited data plans for its iPhone customers. Now, the mobile carrier is offering a tiered plan like AT&Ts where customers can only use a certain amount of bandwidth. Additional bandwidth usage will also incur more fees.
Sprint currently still has an unlimited data option. But, there's a possibility that the introduction of the iPhone 5 into its ranks will also mean the elimination of unlimited data.
And, smartphones like the iPhone mean a lot more traffic over a carrier's 3G wireless network. Networks can be overloaded or strained, causing slower internet speeds.
Will Sprint's 3G and wireless networks become strained or slow when iPhones roll out? It's anybody's guess, but customers might want to be prepared. Customers who are itching to get a Sprint iPhone 5, however, should start looking forward to October when it's rumored to launch.