A press release by Deutsche Telekom has confirmed that T-Mobile USA will begin selling Apple products in 2013. This strategic move brings Apple devices to all four major U.S. carriers. Speculation last week pointed to the launch being almost certain. There were no specifics on if it would be the just iPhone or iPad, but we can assume both would be carried by T-Mobile, just as the big three other carriers currently do.
“T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013,” the release said.
“Following on from the preceding steps such as the spectrum swap with Verizon, the towers deal with Crown Castle and the transaction with MetroPCS that we have announced, we have now added the final piece to the jigsaw to boost the competitiveness of T-Mobile USA sustainably,” said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom.
A statement from T-Mobile was also released stating, “T-Mobile has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together next year. Additional details will be made available at a later date.”
T-Mobile will expand its network faster than most by next year merging with the 5th largest carrier in MetroPCS. Currently, neither provider has access to Apple hardware and by next year that is going to change.
Deutsche Telekom has been attempting to sell off their T-Mobile USA brand for some time. Earlier this year T-Mobile and AT&T attempted to merge, but the talks fell through when the FCC made it clear it would not be approved. When the deal ended, AT&T was forced to hand over $1 billion worth of spectrum to T-Mobile. The exact spectrum was the 1900MHz range and now T-Mobile has been aggressively expanding their LTE network with that newly acquired range. The frequency also allows for AT&T unlocked devices to work over 3g data speeds. The MetroPCS deal and now the Apple announcement could be enough to keep the German parent company involved.
T-Mobile is one of the cheaper carriers available, but will they be able to stay that way with having to possibly purchase the iPhone in bulk? T-Mobile did answer one major question already on its plans. It will move to offering only “Value Plans” in the following year. The current setup for Value Plans offer a lower monthly rate if you bring your own phone to the network. This could be in direct relation to the network having over 1.5 million iPhones already on its network.
The 4th largest carrier is often viewed as a budget brand, but carrying the Apple flagship could help change that perception. Sprint has been able to continue offering unlimited data plans even with the bulk of new customers coming for the iPhone. T-Mobile needs to plan accordingly on network expansion to account for Apple fans looking for a new carrier.
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