September 10, 2012

T-Mobile Still Dreams Of Offering The iPhone

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

As far as the iPhone is considered, T-Mobile is the noticeably absent friend at the birthday party. And not absent because they chose not to come“¦they´re absent because for some reason which no one except Apple really understands, they just aren´t allowed.

T-Mo hasn´t been shy about wanting to be a part of Apple´s big day in the past. They´ve begged, they´ve pleaded, they´ve bargained, they´ve even dressed themselves up in an attempt to look more attractive to Apple, and yet: Nothing.

As everyone prepares to be a part of the latest bash in San Francisco, T-Mobile is once again making a push for attention, offering to provide service for unlocked iPhones at a $50 per month savings.

iPhone users with unlocked devices have always been able to run their device on Big Pink. At one point, T-Mobile said they had as many as 1 million unlocked iPhones running on their network. The trick is to acquire an unlocked device, then switch to a prepaid T-Mobile plan. The savings are quite significant.

Now, T-Mo is pushing iPhone users to bring their unlocked devices, be it 4, 4S or even 5, to the Pink side, offering a total savings of $1200 over two years versus a similar plan with AT&T.

T-Mobile is going beyond running a campaign by hanging signs of iPhones with opened locks on the top. The nation´s 4th major carrier is also bringing in demo iPhone 4S units and training their sales staff how to set up these devices. In other words, T-Mobile is doing an awful lot to pretend they were invited to the party.

T-Mo so badly wants to be a part of the action, they´re even writing iOS apps for their services, such as T-Mobile myAccount and Visual Voicemail. An Apple original, Visual Voicemail has been a staple of the iPhone since the very first generation. Since T-Mobile doesn´t officially support Apple, however, they have to write their own app to add this functionality into the unlocked devices.

This move has long been predicted by several T-Mobile watchers, including the folks over at

While T-Mobile is able to offer something AT&T and Verizon aren´t willing to offer their customers– unlimited data– many of these iPhone switchers will have to put up with severely hampered speeds as T-Mobile continues to “Re-farm” their network to bring full 3G and HSPA+ speeds to the iPhones 4 and 4S.

By the time the fourth quarter rolls around, T-Mobile is expected to have full iPhone-speed service rolled out to “a number of cities,” though they have yet to announce exactly which cities.

Noting that nearly 1 million iPhone users are already on T-Mobile, marketing director HarryThomas told All Things D, “We thought we needed to respond to that consumer demand.”

The iPhone, which will be announced this week, is also expected to feature 4G LTE connectivity. T-Mobile will once again be behind on this curve, though they could have these rogue iPhones running 4G sometime next year if their roll-out continues as planned.

So, while American iPhone users may only have three “official” options when it comes to carriers, it may comfort a few to know that they can take their phones off contract to a slower network to save themselves a sizable amount of money.