T-Mobile USA may use its parent company Deutsche Telekom's agreement with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to get the iPhone on its network. According to a Bloomberg report, which cites a research note from analyst Craig Moffett of Sanford Bernstein, Apple and Deutsche Telekom are likely to reach an agreement to have T-Mobile USA sell the iPhone next year.
If true, this news is good for T-Mobile. The carrier has struggled to keep lucrative postpaid customers from churning to other operators.
T-Mobile is the only Tier 1 U.S. operator that does not sell the iPhone, and has repeatedly noted in earnings calls that it was experiencing higher contract deactivations as a result of customers going elsewhere for the gadget. In the first quarter, T-Mobile lost 510,000 postpaid customers while rivals AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) together added 688,000 postpaid customers.
Apple, meanwhile, has expanded its iPhone agreements to Tier 2 and Tier 3 U.S. operators. In June, Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) said it committed $900 million over three years to sell Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone through a prepaid model. Likewise, Apple is offering the iPhone through smaller regional operators such as C Spire, NTelos and Alaska Communications.
T-Mobile's network upgrade program could pave the way for it to offer the iPhone. The carrier is deploying LTE on its 1700 MHz spectrum and retooling its 1900 PCS spectrum for 2G GSM and HSPA+ services. By deploying HSPA+ in the 1900 MHz, T-Mobile is making its network compatible for more devices, including the iPhone.
Apple wasn't available for comment on the story and a T-Mobile USA spokesperson declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
- see this Bloomberg article
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