T-Mobile USA will finally start selling Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone on April 12, and according to a report from industry analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco, T-Mobile will sell around 3.4 million iPhone units this year.
Dediu arrived at that conclusion by looking at iPhone sales at other Tier 1 U.S. carriers. According to his analysis, from the initial product launch until the end of 2012, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) has activated 72 million iPhones; Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) began selling iPhones four years after AT&T but has activated 26 million since, and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) began nine months after Verizon and has activated 8.5 million iPhones.
Dediu broke down iPhone adoption rates at each of the carriers over time and found that the longer the iPhone has been available on a carrier, the higher the activation rate has been. For example, at AT&T, Dediu found that iPhones made up 17 percent of its subscriber base in 2011, 20 percent in 2012 and will make up an estimated 22 percent in 2013.
Using those assumptions as a guide, Dediu estimated that T-Mobile will sell about 10 percent of its subscribers an iPhone this year, equating to about 3.4 million units.
Asymco shows iPhone activation at Tier 1 U.S. carriers as a proportion of their subscriber bases. Click here for details.
A wild card in the equation is T-Mobile's new no-contract pricing model, in which customers can either buy their smartphone outright for the full cost of the device or make a down payment and then pay for the remainder of the cost of the device in monthly installments.
T-Mobile said the iPhone 5 will be available for customers with qualifying credit for a down payment of $99.99 and $20 per month for 24 months. Qualifying customers can get the iPhone 4S for $69.99 down and $20 per month for 24 months, and the iPhone 4 will be available for qualifying customers through the Simple Choice Plan for $14.99 down and $15 per month for 24 months.
The addition of T-Mobile to Apple's iPhone lineup could help the carrier expand iPhone sales. Indeed, some analysts expect Apple's to report its first quarter of negative income growth since 2003, thus making additional iPhone sales key for the company to continue its stellar growth trajectory.
Importantly, T-Mobile said its version of the iPhone 5 will support its LTE and HSPA bands, which means that Apple has designed a unique version of the phone for T-Mobile's network. However, the carrier's iPhone 4S and 4 will not carry the same configuration, and as a result those devices will only be available in "select" markets and channels.
Separately, T-Mobile confirmed that spokeswoman Carly Foulkes--she of the pink dresses and lately the leather-clad motorcycle suits--will not be a part of the company's new "Uncarrier" marketing campaign. "The current campaign will not feature the character of the T-Mobile Girl, however she is still a part of the company's brand family," a T-Mobile spokesperson told Business Insider. Foulkes has been a T-Mobile spokeswoman and appeared in ads since the fall of 2010.
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