Apple fans leapt for joy as AT&T leaked news of a 3G Apple iPhone in 2008, leaving analysts speculating whether a market for such a high-speed phone exists.

It was announced on Wednesday at an event at the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, Calif. by AT&T Chief executive Randall Stephenson that it will be entering into the 3G market with the release of a new iPhone. The product is expected sometime next year and he said Apple CEO Steve Jobs ``will dictate what the price of the phone is''.

Analyst speculate speed of 3G deployment has been somewhat slow but what is important is that the iPhone is currently addressing the larger portion of the 2G market.

We have seen the results with Ericsson; they were the first key infrastructure provider for that market. The reason Apple didn't have that phone (3G) is because the market was not there, now the market is there, but it's not clear, said Shaw Wu, AmTech analyst.

I never thought it (3G) was a big deal ...the market is not really there, he added.

Apple did not immediately respond for comment when contacted.

RIM is the other major smart phone player, they have been doing really well, but they don't have a 3G. That says something, Wu concluded.

The current iPhone has been in the line of fire over complaints from some users that of AT&T's EDGE network is sluggish, limiting users to browsing the Web at speeds comparable to dial-up Internet connections.

AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S. The current device retails for $399 and sold 1.4 million handsets through the end of September. Apple plans to sell 10 million iPhones worldwide in 2008.