T-Mobile USA to carry Apple products in 2013
T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to bring products to market together in 2013, according to T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom. For T-Mobile, such a deal would allow it to potentially stop the bleeding of postpaid subscribers, which T-Mobile executives have said has been exacerbated by the fact that T-Mobile does not carry Apple's iPhone.
DT and T-Mobile USA did not provide details on which Apple products T-Mobile will launch next year, but the iPhone 5, iPad and iPad mini seem like the most likely products. DT is holding its annual investor conference today, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere will address the conference, where he is likely to give more details on the Apple deal. "I'm glad we finally got an agreement," DT CEO Rene Obermann said at the conference.
Last week Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig wrote in a research note that "speculation is heightening" that DT would announce an iPhone deal for its U.S. subsidiary. Craig noted that such a deal would give Apple access to 98 percent of the U.S. postpaid market and 75 percent of the country's total mobile subscribers, according to Fortune.
T-Mobile's HSPA+ network works on different spectrum bands than what Apple currently supports. As a result, T-Mobile has been busy deploying HSPA+ services on its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum in order to support the iPhone. T-Mobile estimates it has more than 1 million unlocked iPhones on its network, which currently access T-Mobile's slower EDGE speeds.
But T-Mobile is still in the middle of this refarming process. The carrier announced earlier this month it now counts 15 markets with HSPA on 1900 MHz.
T-Mobile is spending $4 billion to refarm its spectrum and deploy LTE. The carrier plans to deploy LTE on its 1700 MHz AWS spectrum next year. Apple's iPhone 5 supports LTE. It's likely that Apple's products will work on T-Mobile's planned LTE network.
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