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This article was published on June 10, 2010

iPhone Headed To T-Mobile? Not Likely

iPhone Headed To T-Mobile? Not Likely
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Analysts are at it again, fabricating contrarian reports to garner endless headline space across the internet. In today’s episode of ‘Analysts-Gone-Crazy’ we have Shaw Wu claiming that it is not Verizon that will perhaps get the iPhone once (if, more like) Apple and AT&T decide to let it go, but T-Mobile.

Best part? His timeline, which points to the addition of T-Mobile as an iPhone carrier no later than next year, and possibly by this fall. If you know anything about Apple product release cycles, you know what bunk this is.

Apple, after just announcing a new product on AT&T, a rejigger of their entire plan line with AT&T, and the gigantic slobbering wet kiss that AT&T is giving everyone to help them upgrade to the iPhone 4, T-Mobile is in the works as the next US iPhone provider? There had better be some good reasons to think so that we have not yet seen. Enlighten us, Shaw.

Just How Important Is The GSM Question?

AT&T and T-Mobile run on GSM networks, and that will make it simpler to port the iPhone over to the provide, Shaw reasons. Fair enough, but that seems to be more a reason to keep the iPhone where it is now. After all, Apple is hardly having a difficult time selling the phone. What is the value add of bringing on the fourth largest US provider, known for having weak coverage, to a phone that requires oodles of bandwidth to handle?

The advantage of adding Verizon (technical problems aside), has always been its 93 million subscribers. That is 6 million more than AT&T. The iPhone, if it was added to Verizon, could tap the userbase of the largest US provider. If Apple picked T-Mobile, it would only have the option to join up with 34 million new people.

So, yes, the iPhone could be a simple port to T-Mobile from AT&T, but the provider would not be able to service the phone as it needs. And, by pulling the phone from AT&T exclusivity Apple would lose bargaining power with AT&T, the company that it is currently making hundreds of millions of dollars off of. Damaging the golden goose just to add a lesser provider with a small subscription base? Not likely.

Does Apple Need Another Provider To Compete With Google?

Apple works with providers all over the world, so the question is a touch US-centric, but it is a fair thought. To compete with Android here at home, does Apple need to toss its lot in with another provider of the next few years? Assuming that Android continues to grow as it has been, yes seems to be the correct answer.

Apple needs access to more consumers, especially those entrenched in their current provider.

If you were a company with a hot product that you could put on any network you wanted in the world, would you pick the more reliable network with more customers to sell to, or the smaller, lesser network because you feared some technical back-work to pull off the larger deal? Of course you go with the bigger provider, you have the brand to sell the phone massively across their base.

Apple is a corporation of amazing technical prowess, if they wanted to move the iPhone to Verizon they could, and it would shine.

Finally, Is Verizon’s Size Important?

To answer Shaw’s question, yes.

And there you have it, why Apple would no sooner pick T-Mobile than quit making the iPhone. Perhaps Apple will add on another provider, but they will hardly pick the weakling from the pack to be their new horse. Steve is too smart for that. Don’t let the analysts get to you quite yet.

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