The iPhone may finally be shucking off its exclusive chains to AT&T. How’s this sound: The T-Mobile iPhone.
It sort of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? And this whole time we thought it would be Verizon.
Yes, According to Cult of Mac, a news site focused on all things Apple, a high-placed executive with T-Mobile said the iPhone is coming to the wireless company in the fall.
Talks between Apple and T-Mobile have apparently progressed, and it’s an 80 percent possibility that T-Mobile will have the iphone in Q3, according to the source.
T-Mobile USA is the fourth-largest U.S. carrier with 33.7 million customers, and the parent company, Deutsche Telekom, out of Germany, helped give it some extra clout in the negotiations.
Though T-Mobile lags behind both AT&T, with 87 million subscribers, and Verizon, with 92.8 million subscribers, and many analysts expected that Apple would naturally gravitate to Verizon when the exclusive contract with AT&T expires later this year, the iPhone’s hardware is incompatible with Verizon’s network.
However, Apple is purportedly working with chipset supplier Qualcomm on hardware that would jibe with the Verizon’s CDMA-based network.
Nonetheless, hardware is not the only roadblock. Verizon has aligned itself quite successfully with Google and, over the release of seven Android phones, has forged a strong alliance with the search giant. And with this alliance has come a fierce competitor to Apple and AT&T—one that has launched PR blitzes and ads deriding the iPhone 4’s antennagate issue.
All said, an overture to T-Mobile would be a sound strategy for Apple, and given their track record of quickly going to new carriers when exclusive contracts run out oversees, a likely one too.
It would be a good way for Jobs to avoid copping to his competitors over at Google and Verizon. Plus, no one would have to swallow their egos in a massive renovation of corporate alignment.
Apple wants to get away from exclusivity with AT&T; a coalition with T-Mobile would satisfy that need. To boot, the iPhone is compatible with T-Mobile’s GSM network. According to the Cult of Mac article, there are still questions as to whether the iPhone will be compatible with T-Mobile’s specific 3G bands.
An Apple-T-Mobile coalition will undoubtedly take some working out. It reminds one of a European parliamentary alliance between two similarly-minded yet varied factions, meant to ensure one’s dominance—in this case Apple’s—while bringing the other onto a more prominent platform—T-Mobile.