Sprint Nextel will be offering Apple's current and next-generation iPhone starting mid-October.

Sprint, the United States' third-largest cell provider, will be selling the iPhone 4 as well as the upcoming iPhone version (which, depending on various reports, is to be a next-generation iPhone 5 and/or a new lower-priced updated iPhone 4 model).

The latest blockbuster rumor is not exactly confirmed, but it does come from The Wall Street Journal's people familiar with the matter, which amounts to a much more reputable source than many of the iPhone rumors floating around cyberspace.

The mid-October date given in the report coincides with the recent convergence of opinion on the release date of the new iPhone. The latest and most reputable sources consider October 14 the most likely sale date, with the official launch and pre-order dates occurring one and two weeks earlier, respectively.

The report states that Sprint's iPhone launch will occur at the same time that both AT&T and Verizon begin selling the next-generation iPhones. Market leader AT&T was the sole U. S. provider to offer the iPhone from the original launch date in 2007 until February of this year, when the number two provider Verizon began selling the iPhone as well.

Sprint's customer base has suffered from volatility in the time that both of the company's major competitors have been able to offer customers access to the iconic smartphone, leading to a struggle for the third-place spot in mobile provider market share -- at times, a relatively close fight between Sprint and T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is in the process of being acquired by AT&T, with the deal being reviewed for potentially anti-competitive effects by regulators in the United States. In the event that the Sprint iPhone rumor and T-Mobile acquisition are both confirmed, that would result in the iPhone being available from every major US wireless provider.

James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. PageRage Yontoo provides free Facebook layouts and Facebook backgrounds for your Facebook profile. PageRage caters to numerous styles and design preferences.