T-Mobile will be next U.S. iPhone carrier, analyst says
Other experts still say Verizon Wireless, as the largest U.S. carrier, will follow AT&T
Computerworld - Kaufman Brothers investment analyst Shaw Wu today contended that T-Mobile USA, not Verizon Wireless, will be the next U.S. carrier to sell Apple Inc.'s popular iPhone.
In a research note e-mailed to subscribers on Thursday, Wu said that T-Mobile, like current exclusive carrier AT&T, runs a GSM network. The GSM networks of the carriers run on different frequency bands.
Meanwhile, Verizon, the nation's largest carrier, and Sprint Nextel both run CDMA networks, which would require changes to the current iPhone technology.
Wu also said the new iPhone 4, shipping on June 24, will support 3G speeds used by T-Mobile.
Wu also argued that T-Mobile is a sizable carrier with 34 million subscribers. He added that Apple needs an additional carrier to compete with coming Android phones supported by Google.
"Looking at industry data, Android's wins have been where iPhone isn't available," Wu said in his note. "That could change dramatically if the iPhone were available on more carriers."
Most analysts expect that Verizon will be the next iPhone carrier, perhaps by as early as this fall, but more likely in 2011.
Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates, questioned Wu's reasoning in predicting that T-Mobile will be next iPhone carrier.
Gold said that among manufacturers, Apple is virtually alone in not making CDMA phones, so "getting an iPhone on Verizon should not be much of a problem."
He added that Verizon has a much larger U.S. installed base than T-Mobile -- 93 million subscribers -- and a larger marketing budget. (By comparison, second place AT&T has 87 million subscribers, Sprint has 47 million. T-Mobile USA is the fourth largest carrier with 34 million.)
Gold also argued that T-Mobile in the U.S. has the "least 3G capability," although T-Mobile has widely promoted its network upgrades in recent months "T-Mobile is expanding, but not on par with AT&T, Verizon or even Sprint," Gold said. "So if Apple has problems with iPhone on AT&T,what would it be like on T-Mobile?"
Gold did list one reason that T-Mobile USA might be the next to carry the iPhone: It is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom in Germany and Apple could conceivably work out a combination deal to allow T-Mobile to sell the iPhone worldwide.
Other analysts have noted that many other factors are involved in how the iPhone will be sold going forward, including the upgrade path to 4G networks, specifically LTE, which both AT&T and Verizon are moving to. In fact, Verizon plans to have an LTE network later this year. T-Mobile is also on a path to LTE, while Sprint's 4G approach, already rolling out, is Wimax.
Wu's analysis was not only based on the logic of T-Mobile running GSM and related factors, but also on statements made by "sources" who said T-Mobile is more likely to agree to Apple's terms for selling the iPhone because it most needs to win back lost customers.
T-Mobile USA and Apple did not respond to requests to comment on Wu's note.
Editor's note: This story was changed since it was originally posted to delete references to frequency bands that the iPhone 4 supports.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!