T-Mobile tells employees to stop using the iPhone name to drive sales

After being snubbed by Apple as an iPhone partner for several years, T-Mobile finally decided to take matters into its own hands. It started updating its network to be more compatible with the handset, and launched a nationwide “bring your own device” campaign to attract unlocked iPhone users.

The marketing has caused quite the buzz in the media, but only time will tell if it resonates with consumers. Unfortunately, T-Mobile may not get to find out. According to a new report, the carrier has sent out an internal memo indicating that it can no longer use the iPhone to drive sales…

TmoNews reports:

“Here’s a piece of news I think a number of us had predicted would come as T-Mobile sends out a memo indicating the “Apple iPhone” name can no longer be used in conjunction with marketing for the “Bring Your Own Device” program. Now, let’s be clear and say we don’t know the reasons for this, it could be a T-Mobile management decision, an Apple legal decision, a T-Mobile legal decision or something else entirely. In other words, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions.”

As you can see in the screenshot of the memo above, T-Mobile says that its employees can still use iPhones for customer demonstration purposes, so it’s not a total loss. But still, if the notice is legitimate, it means the carrier is going to have to move in an entirely new direction marketing-wise.

And given the circumstances, and Apple’s history for protecting its brand name, it’s tough not to jump to conclusions here. You’d think that there’d have to be a good reason for a company to completely change a seemingly-successful marketing strategy. And legal sounds as good as any.

T-Mobile is currently the fourth largest wireless carrier in the US, but has been bleeding customers over the past several months due, in large part, to its lack of iPhone offerings. Again, if the above notice holds true, it’ll be interesting to see how the carrier presses on in its attempt to stay afloat.