Sprint ‘to have iPhone 5 exclusive’

Sprint’s rumored to have bet the farm on the iPhone 5, committing to buy over thirty million of the devices.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the $20 million deal for Wimax-enabled iPhone 5s is likely to lose Sprint money until 2014.

After all, says the paper, it’s planning to subsidize the devices to the tune of $500 each, bringing the price down to something like $150. And the phones aren’t on sale or return, meaning that if the gamble doesn’t pay off, Sprint could be left high and dry.

Boy Genius Report says that Sprint will get the phone as much as five months before AT&T or Verizon, who will then receive LTE-compatible models. In the meantime, they’ll be stuck with the iPhone 4S.

If it’s true, and if it all works out, it could be the shot in the arm that Sprint needs. But it would likely mean a smaller focus on the company for its Android models – surprising, given how strongly the company’s backed it in the past.

The Wall Street Journal’s not generally given to flights of fancy, but it also seems unlikely that Apple would be prepared to antagonize AT&T and Verizon customers – the bulk of its customer base – to quite such a degree.

Nor does it seem likely that Sprint would start focusing on Wimax 4G, when it’s already moving to the faster LTE.

Oh well, guess we’ll all find out later…