The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint has struck a deal of unprecedented size with Apple to finally bring the iPhone to the third-largest network in the US. According to the WSJ, Sprint has agreed to commit $20 billion toward the purchase of 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years. Sprint has agreed to buy the iPhones whether or not they can find customers to purchase them.
A second, less credible report by BGR claims that Sprint is getting an exclusive on the redesigned iPhone 5 until spring 2012. BGR claims the Sprint iPhone 5 will be a WiMAX-enabled 4G device. Verizon and AT&T will follow-up with a LTE 4G version of the iPhone 5 in the first quarter of 2012. It should be noted, however, that BGR’s track record on iPhone rumors is poor, with the blog originally claiming the iPhone 5 would be released the last week of August. The fact that Sprint appears to be focusing on LTE instead of WiMAX for its future 4G buildout also conflicts with BGR’s report.