Sprint Nextel has inadvertently caused a flare-up of rumors that the Apple iPhone 5 could be coming to its network in October.
An internal memo, which was obtained by SprintFeed, asks employees to say no comment if anyone asked them about the Wall Street Journal story last week that said Sprint could feature the iPhone 5 on its network in October.
The refusal to deny the story as a rumor has given rise to renewed speculation that iPhone 5 could roll out on the Sprint network soon.
A recent Wall Street Journal article mentioned that Sprint is getting the iPhone5... If you're asked by a customer or just talking to friends or family members, you need to avoid making any comment about the iPhone and simple [sic] state no comment, the memo read, according to AppleInsider.
If a customer directly asked employees about the story, they would have to answer: Yes, I saw a few of those reports, I don't have any information to share.
Sprint shares had sprinted up almost 10 percent at one point last week when The Journal reported that Apple's flagship phone was coming to Sprint Nextel Corp.
The Journal said the carrier will begin selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October. The report said according to people familiar with the matter, the new iPhone will be similar to the iPhone 4, but thinner and lighter with an improved digital camera and a new more sophisticated operating system.
Apart from boosting Sprint shares, which have received heavy pummeling of late, the Journal report also dusted off the iPhone 5 release date rumors. According to the report, the device will see the light of the day in mid-October.
If iPhone 5 comes to Sprint, it will significantly boost the carrier's prospects. While Verizon and AT&T have banked on the high-end smartphone sector to boost sales, Sprint has so far been left out of the race. This can change now, and investors are weighing in on the prospects.
Significantly, Sprint has not asked employees to deny the rumor. Tech observers point out that if the report had no merit, Sprint could have trashed it flatly.
While the memo falls short of providing evidence that Sprint will indeed be getting Apple's popular smartphone, some have taken the company's no comment stance as a positive indication of its rumored plans to sell the iPhone, AppleInsider reported.
It is certain that iPhone 5 could well be the White Knight for Sprint, which has been struggling to expand customer base fast enough, leading to considerable investor angst. This was mainly because iPhone skewed competition among wireless rivals and created unequal sets of haves and have nots.
But there are downsides to this scenario as well, from Sprint's perspective. The addition of the iPhone 5 could also hurt Sprint as it would boost AT&T's chances of winning regulatory approval for its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, the Journal report said.