T-Mobile reportedly sold about 900,000 iPhones in June quarter

iPhone 5 now on T-Mobile

T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier, started taking pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone on April 5, a week ahead of April 12 availability.

Following the strong advertising push, the carrier then boasted about ‘gangbuster’ opening for the iconic smartphone, leaving us scratching our head as the headline-grabbing phrase left room for various interpretations in terms of hard data.

The exact sales figure came to light during T-Mobile’s earnings call when we learned the Deutsche Telekom-owned telco sold half a million iPhones during its first month of availability, between April 5 and May 8.

Though T-Mobile won’t report June quarter earnings until August 8, the company reportedly confirmed selling about 900,000 iPhones during the three-month period ended June 30. If true, the data point suggests the carrier has moved an additional 400,000 units between May 8 and June 30, but also that sales have slowed following the initial push…

I found the figure in a tweet by Walter Piecyk, a wireless analyst at BTIG.

“T-Mobile confirms iPhone sales ~900k for Q2. Yesterday we estimated 750-900k,” he tweeted out.

During yesterday’s media event that saw the launch of Jump, T-Mobile’s anytime upgrade club for $10 a month, CEO John Legere mentioned the iPhone comprised 39 percent of April smartphone sales and about 29 percent of May sales.

For reference, when Verizon Wireless and AT&T first launched the sought-after device, it commanded a 38 and 45 percent share on their network, respectively.

By the way, T-Mobile Jump plans start on July 14, 2013.

“May was better than April, and April was most of our ‘iPhone blip,’” Legere told AllThingsD yesterday. The arrival of the device on the T-Mobile network helped boost Apple’s U.S. market share, according to Kantar.

“While smartphone sales over all have remained relatively stable in the 3 months ending May 2013, compared to the same period last year, iOS has grown, with a 3.5 percent increase during that time”, Kantar Worldpanel said Monday.


His company, Legere argued, is benefiting from more than just an initial iPhone boost.

“The Un-carrier approach is really what started to work”, the CEO told author Ina Freid.

“But if AT&T and rivals want to think of T-Mobile’s gains as just an iPhone-related blip, Legere said ‘that’s beautiful'”, she wrote.

T-Mobile scheduled June quarter earnings call on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 11AM Eastern / 8AM Pacific.

I’m really not surprised T-Mobile is seeing a drop in iPhone sales as fellow carriers suffer from the same syndrome amid a broader slowdown of the high-end. Samsung, for example, just lost $12 billion in market value after reporting a disappointing quarterly forecast and lower-than-expected smartphone sales.

T-Mobile Jump (presser, John Legere)

Apple’s growth is decelerating amid heightened competition, lack of new product categories and slowing iPhone sales. If you need more proof that the high-end is drying up, look no further than Verizon, the nation’s leading carrier.

Bloomberg estimated this morning that Apple’s slowing iPhone biz may end up costing the big red carrier $14 billion over contractual obligations and unsold inventory.

Taking it all in, I’m hardly surprised T-Mobile sold less iPhones in a little over a month and a half than it did during its first month of availability. After all, this is a nearly nine-month-old handset and the iPhone 5S is just around the corner.