T-Mobile USA unlikely to get iPhone until 2013

There has been speculation for longer than we can remember regarding when T-Mobile may finally get to carry the Apple iPhone. As the only major mobile operator in the US to still not carry the phone we recently told how it seems T-Mobile is edging closer to 4G LTE and also carrying the iPhone. However news today suggests that T-Mobile USA is unlikely to get the iPhone before 2013.

Not having the iPhone has hit T-Mobile hard and in Q1 this year T-Mobile has lost 510,000 monthly subscribers and had a hard job holding on to contract customers. With more than half of the smartphones being purchased from Verizon and AT&T over that same period being iPhone’s, it’s not hard to see where the custom has been lost. Therefore gaining the iPhone would help T-Mobile to reduce contract losses.

New York analyst Craig Moffett of Sanford C. Bernstein wrote in a research note yesterday that T-Mobile USA could use parent company Deutsche Telekom’s agreement with Apple in order to offer the iPhone from 2013. This would help not only T-Mobile but could also help Deutsch Telekom’s to achieve a net revenue growth position earlier than anticipated. Moffett believes it is “increasingly likely” that Deutsche Telekom and Apple will agree that T-Mobile can carry the iPhone next year, according to a report on Businessweek. As you might expect both T-Mobile and Apple have so far declined to comment on this.

Apple has certainly extended iPhone agreements this year with regional PAYG carriers climbing on board and also Virgin Mobile USA selling the iPhone with prepaid plans so it does seem inevitable that the iPhone eventually makes it way to T-Mobile. However news that this is not likely until 2013 may perturb some T-Mobile customers. One of the drawbacks for T-Mobile has been that its current networks have been incompatible with the iPhone but Deutsche Telekom has already committed to spending over $1 billion on U.S. network upgrades and we previously mentioned T-Mobile is busy developing its 4G LTE network that would accommodate the iPhone 5 if (as many people expect) it has LTE connectivity.

T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray certainly made the company’s intentions clear when he said back in March, “our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone.” For another take on this you may be interested in an iDownload Blog article that also talks of the iPhone on T-Mobile not coming until 2013. The report points out that it’s rather ironic that T-Mobile still issues ads knocking AT&T’s iPhone when some feel that T-Mobile describing it’s glorified 3G HSPA+ network as 4G is really false advertising. You can see the video below our story as an example of what they mean.

What are your thoughts on the T-Mobile and iPhone saga? Maybe you’ve stuck with T-Mobile and patiently waited for the iPhone but are now considering jumping ship? Maybe you think Apple should just hurry up and make an agreement with T-Mobile to fill the rather ominous carrier gap? Let us know with your comments.


2 thoughts on “T-Mobile USA unlikely to get iPhone until 2013”

  1. NotNoRmAL says:

    well, it really wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for TMO to sell the iPhone until at the very least they’ve got reasonable 1900 HSPA+ coverage (before we even start talking about LTE). Otherwise, they’d have a flood of returns on their hands due to the 2G speeds. In any case, wide availability of 1900 HSPA+ probably won’t happen until at least early 2013 so it would make sense for them to wait until then.

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