T-Mobile USA could announce as soon as next week that they will finally carry the mighty iPhone. Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig reports, “speculation is heightening” that Deutche Telekom will announce the iPhone during meetings scheduled on December 6th and 7th. Craig also said this move would give Apple access to 98% of the post paid subscribers in the US.
Bloomberg recently reported that the carrier would offer the Apple device in early 2013. The CMO for T-Mobile reported to employees earlier this year that they would not be carrying the phone. This is not the first time we have seen T-Mobile to carry the iPhone claims, but it does have a bit more detail and content this time.
T-Mobile is the last of the big 4 providers in the US to carry the iPhone, yet the provider has over 1.4 million unlocked Apple devices on its network. Currently, users must buy an expensive unlocked phone and have T-Mobile add it to their network. Most of these devices are on the slower edge network, but that obviously hasn’t slowed down the demand for the cheaper carrier.
T-Mobile has recently been aggressively expanding the HSPA+ network on the 1,900MHZ band, which allows faster speeds for those existing iPhones. This same expansion is now offering theoretical speeds of up to 42mbps. The recent exclusive carrier release of the Google Nexus 4 has brought many Nexus devices to the provider on that exact same 1,900MHz band. Consumers can also buy the phone directly from the Google Play Store and use the phone on AT&T or the T-Mobile network.
If the latest rumor pans out, it will be a huge boost to the struggling provider. In February they reported losing 700,000 customers to the iPhone alone. Carrying the prized phone could be a costly up front investment. Sprint was the last post paid carrier to pick up the iPhone and had to agree to buy 30.5 million over the next four years. That could be near a 20 billion dollar investment with a lot of stock in one company, Apple. AT&T was the exclusive carrier for the iPhone launch and held that position for nearly 4 years.
In 2011, Verizon announced it would would sell the iPhone 4/4s. Later in 2011, Sprint also began to offer the iPhone 4/4s. Even the prepaid carriers were able to get involved in 2012 with both Cricket Wireless and Virgin Mobile selling the iPhone 4 and 4s models. It has been a pretty fine ride for Apple so far and by adding the last major carrier it appears to be doing just fine.
iPhone Coming to T-Mobile?
If the rumor is true it looks like the US’s second largest GSM network, T-Mobile will get its hands on Apple’s darling the iPhone 4.