Sprint staff reportedly briefed on iPhone 4 for October launch

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Sprint will begin selling the iPhone 4 in October, according to a new report from TUAW’s Erica Sadun. The report comes from a Sprint Nextel sales associate who has been briefed on the iPhone 4’s arrival, which will be available with Sprint’s standard data plans, plus the carrier’s $10 premium that applies to all smartphones.

Earlier, both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal had reported that Sprint would begin offering the iPhone in October, and Bloomberg asserted that the iPhone would be available with Sprint’s unlimited data plan. Unlike those reports, TUAW’s account Tuesday says that only the iPhone 4 will arrive on Sprint in October, and that the iPhone 5 won’t make it to the network until around early spring 2012. If that’s true, and we see the iPhone 5 arrive on Verizon and AT&T next month, that could dampen any advantage Sprint might have gained by pairing the Apple smartphone with unlimited data.

The report coincides with news that France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard has hinted that the still unannounced iPhone 5 could arrive October 15. He made statements to that effect during a press event Tuesday, saying “If I believe what we’ve been told, the iPhone 5 will be released Oct. 15.”

Richard has let spill details regarding Apple’s unreleased products in the past, including information about the iPhone maker’s plan to build an e-SIM card into its devices. The October 15 date he mentioned has been discussed as a possible release date for the iPhone 5 the past, in a leaked memo to Sprint employees that blacks out vacation days, so that could be what Richard is referring to. The problem with the date is that it falls on a Saturday, which would make it a very unusual choice for an Apple product release, though the original iPad (which Richard also talked about prior to release) came out on a Saturday.

If TUAW’s info is correct, however, the leaked vacation memo from Sprint could actually be related to the iPhone 4, not the iPhone 5. TUAW’s source also claims that Sprint will offer a 4G iPad at some point, though no details were available regarding launch dates and pricing. If these reports about the iPhone and the iPad are true, it sounds like Sprint may be counting on network advantages like unlimited data and 4G connectivity to offset disadvantages it may suffer from coming late to both the iPhone and iPad game.

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