Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Apple Using T-Mobile USA As Example To Carriers That Won’t Deal?


T-Mobile still doesn’t have the iPhone even as Apple adds 5 regional carriers that will start providing Apple’s iconic mobile device to their subscribers.  I know that the reason has more to do with the technical GSM deployment rather than Apple simply unwilling to make this happen.  Or maybe T-Mobile simply did not give Apple enough financial incentive to make iPhones that will take advantage of T-Mobile’s 3G network.  For speculation sake, let’s suppose there is another reason why Apple has yet to make the iPhone available on T-Mobile’s network.

Apple wants to show carriers what happens when they don’t deal with Apple on its terms when it comes to the iPhone.  With And T-Mobile, already kinda dying when AT&T tried to merge with it, Apple decided it would not harm its bottom line if it used T-Mobile as an example to any carrier that decides to cross it.  How else can you explain why regional guys with as little as 400K subscribers getting the iPhone ahead of some that still has thirty million subscribers?

Obviously, the operative word is “still” as T-Mobile continues to bleed users not only to carriers like iPhone-newcomer Sprint but also others with a better selection of smartphones.

Crazy speculation here?  Definitely not.  Consider this.  Apple may or may not have already struck a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier at 600 million subscribers.  You didn’t misread that or did I accidentally added an extra zero.  Six hundred million subscribers or about twice the US population.

There had been words in the media in the past couple of years that Apple and China Mobile were having difficulties coming to terms agreeable to both sides for China Mobile to start carrying the iPhone.  So, Apple offered them to its smaller rivals, China Telecom and China Unicom combined with more than 300 million subscribers.  Already, both of China Mobile’s smaller rivals are seeing benefits.

Any other carriers still without the iPhone can be pointed to T-Mobile as an example of what happens if they don’t carry Apple’s iOS devices.

I am sure Apple will eventually offer the iPhone to T-Mobile USA subscribers and those who remain will happily snatch up them up.  However, T-Mobile could pay a very heavy price to make that happen.  Just ask Sprint about the $20 billion deal it currently has with Apple.

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