With three of the four largest carriers in the US already on the iPhone bandwagon, the big question is will there be a T-Mobile iPhone 5 in 2012. The answer is probably yes.
Will there be a T-Mobile iPhone 5?
For over a year now, T-Mobile execs have said the company would love to have the iPhone. However for some reason Apple hasn’t granted them that wish. It was originally believed that the reason for this was because T-Mobile was a small player in the US market (fourth largest carrier) and hence Apple may have deemed it not worthy of having to tweak their iPhone to work on the network.
However as of 2012, we’ve seen three regional carriers in the US announce the iPhone 4S. NTelos Wireless which only has 400,000 customers announced that they will begin to sell the iPhone 4S on April 20. Furthermore, it will be available for $50 less than any other carrier. The same can be aid about Cellular South which got it at the start of the year, and Alaska Communications who will also begin offering the iPhone 4S later this month.
It appears that Apple has decided in 2012 to begin making the iPhone available on as many US carriers as possible, and on the other side carriers are beginning to offer heavier subsidies than the bigger players in the industry to fulfill Apple’s quotas of having a certain number of units sold. And that’s where T-Mobile comes in.
T-Mobile has lately been quite vocal about the burden phone subsidies are playing on telecommunications industry. While they are not talking about completely eliminating it, it does show that they may not have agreed to Apple’s terms about how heavily they would need to subsidize the iPhone price before Apple would release a T-Mobile variant for them to offer. However with T-Mobile losing a whopping 526,000 customers in Q4 2011 (a huge contrast to the 126,000 net customers it gained in Q3), it may not be able to handle the losses the iPhone 5 may bring when every other US carrier, both bigger and smaller than them, get the latest iPhone.
If anything, we may see T-Mobile have to offer the iPhone 5 at a slightly lower price point than the big 3 US carriers in order to move as many units as agreed upon with Apple; as well as for the fact that its LTE network won’t be ready this year making its iPhone 5 ‘handicapped’ when compared to the Verizon, AT&T & Sprint variants.