According a new rumor circulating the web, talks between Apple and T-Mobile are at an “advanced stage,” and it is 80 percent likely that the best-selling smartphone will be brought to T-Mobile in this very fiscal quarter. This information comes from a high ranking source within T-Mobile, who wished not to be quoted directly and to remain anonymous. T-Mobile is owned by Deutsche Telekom—the carrier of the iPhone in Germany—which has reportedly been a factor in these talks. The CEO of Deutsche Telekom, René Obermann, has in fact already stated the iPhone will be coming to T-Mobile USA.
Apple introduced the iPhone on AT&T in 2007, and has not brought the device to any new carriers in the U.S. since then, which many believe is because of an exclusivity agreement AT&T has with Apple. However, many speculate that the supposed agreement is to expire as soon as this year, meaning Apple has free reign to sell their device on alternative carriers. A report at Wired explains that the relationship between AT&T and Apple has been worse than many expected. Reportedly, Apple has seriously tried several times to make a switch to Verizon.
Verizon is the largest carrier in the United States, with 92.8 million subscribers, making many believe it was the next logical step for the iPhone. To put that number in context, T-Mobile is the fourth largest carrier with 33.7 million subscribers. Purportedly, the chief holdup between Apple and Verizon is the fact that the CDMA chips that Verizon uses are a different size, and would not easily be retrofitted for the iPhone. T-Mobile, meanwhile, uses the same GSM standard that AT&T does, meaning Apple’s job would be much easier on the hardware end. However, one standout detail is T-Mobile’s usage of the 1700/2100 MHz bands. The iPhone 4 supports the 2100 MHz band, yet there is no documentation confirming support of the 1700 MHz band (Apple may simply have not listed the usage of the band). T-Mobile also supports UMTS, a developing 4G standard—something that Verizon has not done.
Though this is, until official confirmation, a rumor, the relationship between Apple and AT&T has been rocky, to say the least, and AT&T has been under serious strain and has taken heavy criticism from iPhone users. This all means one thing is very clear; as soon as that exclusivity agreement is up, Apple is making sure the iPhone will be available on another carrier.
And, in the spirit of capitalism, it is very important that they do.
Read [Cult of Mac]