T-Mobile not seen landing the iPhone before 2013

T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth largest telco, is not seen getting Apple’s smartphone this year, despite paying dearly for network upgrades to support 3G data speeds on the iPhone and testing its iPhone-friendly data service at WWDC. The news doesn’t bode well for the Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier, conspicuously the sole major U.S. wireless company without Apple’s device…

According to Sanford C. Bernstein’s analyst Craig Moffett, quoted in a Bloomberg Businesweek article, T-Mobile USA should at this stage seriously consider using parent Deutsche Telekom AG’s sales agreement with Apple if it’s to get the sought-after device in the foreseeable future.

Apple and Deutsche Telekom are “increasingly likely” to reach an agreement for T-Mobile to sell iPhones in the U.S. next year.

In other words, T-Mobile won’t get its hands on the iPhone 5 and won’t be able to capitalize on “the mother of all upgrades”. The analyst also wrote in today’s research note to clients:

iPhone availability at T-Mobile USA would likely reduce contract losses at that company, and push Deutsche Telekom U.S. to a net revenue growth position much sooner than the market expects.

The Bellevue, Washington-headquartered carrier has nearly 40 million subscribers. Despite not being an official partner, T-Mobile USA sees a lot of business from unlocked iPhone users (and they’re offering support to unlockers as well).

The lack of iPhone is to blame primarily for T-Mobile’s high churn rate: just last quarter, it lost more than half a million subscribers to rival iPhone-friendly networks.

Meanwhile, the carrier continues firing pot shots at the AT&T iPhone while insisting its network is 4G whereas in reality it’s just glorified 3G HSPA+.

Talk about false advertising.


No wonder Jobs hated carriers with passion.

With that failed AT&T merger, costly infrastructure upgrades ($1.4 billion) and AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and a bunch of regional carriers offering the iconic smartphone with month-to-month plans, I’m guessing T-Mobile’s bottom line will continue to take a hit as a result of not being able to sell the iPhone.

Come on Apple, isn’t it high time to make the iPhone officially available through the #4 U.S. carrier?

On the other hand, perhaps T-Mobile is unable to meet Apple’s volume commitments (just ask Sprint)?