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Print 50 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Nov 26 at 10:43 PM

T-Mobile doesn't want to spend billions just to get the iPhone like some competitors did

With the massive popularity of Apple's iPhone, you would think every carrier in the United States would want the device on their network. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint offer the iPhone, as do several smaller regional carriers. However, T-Mobile isn’t officially on the iPhone bandwagon yet.

A T-Mobile executive as recently stated that the carrier knows it has lost customers by not carrying the iPhone, but it's not willing to make major sacrifices just to get the device on its network.

Jim Alling, COO of T-Mobile USA, said, "Make no mistake about it: We would love to carry the iPhone. However, we want the economies to be right for us."
 
Alling also noted that T-Mobile didn't want to sign a deal similar to its competitors. Fierce Broadband and Wireless reports that Alling is making a veiled reference to a deal Sprint made to carry the iPhone in 2011 that cost $15.5 billion. Sprint doesn't expect its iPhone operations to become profitable until 2015.


Apple iPhone 5

Alling did note that T-Mobile's SIM-only Value Plans have attracted numerous iPhone owners from other networks. He said that there are 1.5 million unlocked iPhones operating on the T-Mobile network right now.

The comments were made during a discussion at the 12th annual Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecoms Conference in Spain. Some comments were also made about T-Mobile and its upcoming merger with MetroPCS. That merger is expected to take place early next year and it seems both T-Mobile and MetroPCS feel the same way about offering the iPhone.

Metro PCS COO Tom Keys said last summer, "It would be harmful to MetroPCS to have to cut out part of our handset portfolio to accommodate one phone from one provider that the economics could be at risk."

Source: Fierce Broadband and Wireless



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By name99 on 11/21/2012 2:28:56 PM , Rating: 1
You have to understand that what is being said here is content-free posturing.

T-Mobile are doing badly --- you think they talked to ATT about a merger because they were doing well? Meanwhile iPhone goes from strength to strength, and T-Mobile is not in on any of those (higher-end) customers. Talking about jailbreaks is irrelevant. There is a technical issue (right now T-Mobile uses different frequencies so you won't get HSPA; that will change in time but is not changed yet); more importantly you don't make mass market money from the minuscule stream of jailbreakers and unlockers.

If Sprint are planned to go profitable in 2015, that's great. That's the way business works --- you make an upfront investment today, and it pays off years from now. I don't know if Shane is being willfully obtuse in ignoring this, or if he deliberately wants to mislead people. It's no different from putting a cell tower today and only having it pay off in five years.

If T-Mobile could do the same thing as Sprint, they would jump at the chance. but they have the problem that they need Apple much more than vice versa, so what do they do? How do they avoid getting a deal that is even worse than Sprint's?

One option would be substantially open up their network; for example allow (at least for those who want it) a decoupling of contracts from subsidies. They offer something like this already for Android, and my guess is Apple likes this because it reduces carrier power. (On the other hand it also reduces the incentive to upgrade after two years so... who knows?) Another such option would be to have their phones automatically GSM unlocked; none of this crap about having to wait two years for unlocking like with ATT.

The point is, Apple have T-Mobile by the balls, not vice versa. And so T-Mobile are doing all they can with the hand they have, trying to play coy and pretend "oh, we don't care if we don't have iPhones, we're perfectly happy with life as it is".

You're welcome to believe that and Shane if you want. But don't be upset when you are amazed to learn that people actually lie; and that CEOs say things to achieve a particular result, not because they great guys who want to share their wisdom with the world.


By name99 on 11/21/2012 3:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
As Horace Dediu said: "The iPhone is a broadband salesman who gets a significant commission. It gets paid well because it does its job very well. If there is no need for the job or if someone else can do it as well for less then it will not get paid as well. However, it's been getting its bonus every year for six years now."

To add to my point that T-Mobile needs Apple, not the other way round: remember Apple is STILL production constrained in how many iPhones it can sell, even though it has been doubling its production every year for the last five years. Point is, if T-Mobile aren't willing to offer Apple a good deal, Apple can find plenty of other customers for those iPhones.


By ritualm on 11/21/2012 3:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
So you wholeheartedly support TMo getting swallowed whole by AT&T just because of the iPhone? Never mind that AT&T itself is sucking off the government's warrantless wiretapping programs.

Good god you are dumber than you make yourself out to be.


By TakinYourPoints on 11/21/2012 3:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't about supporting T-Mobile being absorbed by another company, when did name99 ever say that? He's talking about something entirely different, not saying that T-Mobile should be acquired by AT&T. Numbers don't lie, T-Mobile has lost almost two million customers this year because they do not carry the iPhone, revenue has been plummeting, and statements are being made to save face. That's all.

People get so emotional and mad.


By Rukkian on 11/21/2012 5:18:52 PM , Rating: 2
Not saying it is wrong, but where do you get the info that they lost 2m subscribers due to not having the Iphone? I understand that they lost 2m, but maybe there are plenty of other factors.

US Cellular is more of a regional carrier, but they are gaining customers, and doing pretty well while having nothing to do with the iphone. This is just one example.

Beleive it or not the iphone is not the only device out there anymore (contrary to you) and the world (outside your head) does not revolve around Apple. A bunch of their subscribers actually left due to the merger, as people were afraid to sign new contracts not knowing what would happen, and with knowing that the company is not doing good could make plenty uneasy signing a contract.


By ritualm on 11/21/2012 5:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Numbers don't lie

They don't. However, numbers can be interpreted to explain literally anything their hosts want to say.

A loss of two million customers versus making a deal with the devil that makes you lose money on every new iPhone customer... hrmph, tough choice indeed.

Apple didn't dangle a carrot in front of the carriers. It's full of industrial poison. Sprint bit it and now it's in the red. Oh but TMo should follow Sprint because OMG iPhone! So sayeth name99. Er no, I don't buy that argument at the slightest bit.


By TakinYourPoints on 11/22/2012 3:29:57 AM , Rating: 3
There is always an initial loss on hardware that is made up over the course of a contract. This is why two year contracts exist in the first place, its the same as when a company decides to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 or whatever similarly high-end smartphone they decide to get. Hell, back in 2006 a Blackberry or even certain Nokia dumbphones cost about as much without a contract.

This initial hit on taking on new contracts is nothing new.

Verizon has done very well since taking on the iPhone, and it will pay off for Sprint in another year or two. If it wasn't a profitable business, which it clearly is, then they wouldn't accept those terms in the first place. T-Mobile is in a different boat, they're the only major carrier without the iPhone and the bleeding of customers is the result of that.


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