December 6, 2012
Could It Be True? T-Mobile To Carry iPhone In 2013
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
It looks as if Christmas has come early for Deutsche Telekom´s American carrier, T-Mobile. Numerous news sites, including the Wall Street Journal´s All Things D are reporting that Deutsche Telekom has just announced in a statement that T-Mobile will begin selling Apple products next year.The statement apparently doesn´t hold very many specifics, such as what time in 2013 or which Apple products, but it´s very likely the iPad and iPhone are being discussed here, as they are the only products Apple currently sells with cellular connections.
“T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together next year,” reads the statement.
T-Mobile has been left out in the cold ever since the days of the very first iPhone. At first the lack of a T-Mobile iPhone (or a Sprint or Verizon iPhone for that matter) was easy to dismiss. Apple had an exclusive contract with AT&T, and while the length of this contract wasn´t made publicly available, it was understood that every carrier would begin selling the iPhone as soon as they could. Hints of a possible partnership between Apple and Verizon began to appear in late 2010 as Verizon began to sell Apple´s iPad packaged with a mobile broadband device, effectively making it a “Verizon iPad.”
In January 2011, Verizon became the second American carrier to sell the iPhone, with Sprint becoming the third and last carrier to jump on the bandwagon in the fall.
All the while, T-Mo has been itching to get the iPhone, going out of their way to reconfigure their network to play nicely with Apple´s iPhone and even allow more than 1 million unlocked iPhones to run on their network. In the days leading up to the iPhone 5 announcement, T-Mobile even began a campaign to encourage these unlocked iPhone users to switch to their network. Complete with promotional material which depicted an iPhone with an unstowed lock on top, T-Mobile began offering unlocked iPhone users a plan for $50 a month, significantly cheaper than other carriers.
T-Mobile even began writing iOS apps for their own services, such as T-Mobile myAccount and their own form of visual voicemail.
While T-Mobile can offer cheap service plans and unlimited data to iPhone users, their network speeds have always been slower than the competition. Big Pink has been working to speed things up a bit and by the end of the year should be able to offer full 3G and HSPA+ speeds to areas of their network for iPhone 4 and 4S.
Next year, T-Mo is set to begin rolling out a next generation LTE network which will also play well with the iPhone.
Deutsche Telekom´s Chairman RenÃ© Obermann also said in a statement that his company is ready and willing to pay some big money now in order to remain a key player in the future.
“Hesitation now means playing catch-up later. We are investing in the future — with resolve and a clear strategy,” said Obermann in his Thursday announcement.
DT´s CFO Timotheus HÃ¶ttges put it in some very banker-like terms:
“We are going against the flow with our high investments in these times of economic challenges — because we have worked hard to establish sound balance sheet ratios and now have the necessary leeway.”
Apple has yet to confirm this announcement, though it´s likely they´ll keep quiet about a partnership until the day their latest iPhone launches. What´s left to be seen, of course, is how many customers will switch to T-Mobile or just stay where they are. It´s likely many iPhone users who were inclined to switch networks already did so when the iPhone 4S was released for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.