Sprint/Nextel has been more aggressive than other U.S. carriers in promoting music downloads for phones and in meeting with company representatives today for an advance look at their upcoming handsets, the thought struck me that the iPhone could actually be a good thing for some competitors.

Here’s my logic: The saturation marketing and media coverage around the iPhone’s June 29 launch is sure to raise interest in music on phones, a category that has been huge in Europe but has lagged in North America. There are bound to be a lot of potential customers who really want an iPhone, but who just can’t handle that $500 or $600 price tag. This could create a nice marketing opportunity for Sprint’s Upstage music phone. The Samsung handset is no iPhone, but you can get it for $99 with a Sprint contract—and unlike the iPhone, it can download 99-cent tracks over the air.

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