Ali Al Ahmad, Chief Corporate Communication Officer of UAE carrier Etisalat is quoted to have said to Gulf News:
“Yes, we are in talks with most smartphone manufacturers including Apple on the rollout of the 4G handset, iPhone 5 later this year. As the first telecom organization to roll out the 4G network, LTE, in the Middle East, we have already started talking to them for the handsets and chipsets in them.”
But no sooner had the rumor mill started to spin before the company took a big couple of steps back and retracted the original statement, stating that:
“Etisalat held an LTE Media Seminar on 9th June 2011, following which there were several announcements in the media about the launch of LTE services in the UAE. In reference to these announcements, Etisalat would like to clarify that the Corporation is in talks with a number of manufacturers to bring the latest LTE-compatible devices to the UAE – including USB dongles, modems and mobile devices – whenever they become available from the manufacturer, after Etisalat’s official launch of LTE in Q3, 2011. At no point did Etisalat confirm that any new iPhone device will be launched in 2011.”
Whether there is actually a chance of a 4G iPhone launching this year, of it was just a slip of the tongue and a rushed backtrack of not-to-be-leaked information remains to be seen.