The T-Mobile iPhone rumor has had its ups and downs ever since AT&T was the sole U.S. mobile operator to sell the iOS handset in the country, but Apple never launched any of its iPhone models with the carrier.
Fortune on Thursday reported that an analyst is expecting T-Mobile to get the iPhone (most likely the iPhone 5 in case it happens) as soon as next week:
Now Merrill Lynch’s Scott Craig is out with a note reporting that “speculation is heightening” that Deutsche Telecom (DT) will announce a deal to bring the iPhone to its U.S. subsidiary at next week’s analysts day (12/6-7).
One of the reasons T-Mobile has been ignored by Apple is that the carrier’s GSM network can’t offer 3G support to the iPhone. Or better said couldn’t do it so far, as T-Mobile has upgraded its HSPA+ network in several markets to offer 3G coverage to its iPhone subscribers that were limited to 2G speeds so far. And there are over 1.5 million iPhone users who chose to either jailbreak their GSM iPhones or purchase unlocked devices and move to T-Mobile instead of sticking it out with AT&T.
But will T-Mobile backtrack on its most recent statements? Just last week we reported that T-Mobile doesn’t seem too interested in getting the iPhone. The carrier’s COO said that the company “would love to carry the iPhone,” but added that “however, we want the economies to be right for us.”
Just like Sprint did before getting its own iPhone model, T-Mobile isn’t doing that great, financially speaking, and the inability to offer Apple’s smartphone to potential customers is certainly one of the factors affecting its bottom line.
T-Mobile has tried over the years to compensate for the iPhone’s absence in stores by doubling down on Android. The carrier has a wide variety of Android devices in stores for all budgets, and has quite a collection of high-end Android devices, including the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 2 and the Nexus 4, which is an exclusive in the U.S.
However, its main competitors, the other three major carrier in the region, all offer about the same hot Android devices to their subscribers, while also stocking various iPhone models. But Verizon, AT&T and Sprint don’t have the Nexus 4 in stores this Christmas, and the handset has proven to be quite appealing to the Android-loving crowds.
How will a T-Mobile iPhone 5 affect the U.S. smartphone landscape remains to be seen. While we wait for some confirmation that this thing is indeed happening let’s hear it from you, what T-Mobile smarpthone would you rather buy this Christmas, an iPhone 5 or a Nexus 4?