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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

T-Mobile finally getting iPhone, inks Apple deal

T-Mobile USA will finally start offering Apple products in 2013.

T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, confirmed today that the companies have reached a deal after years of effort by T-Mobile.

The news was released at an investor conference in Bonn where the company said Apple products and a massive investment in LTE wireless broadband are part of a broad plan to reinvigorate growth at Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA.

Details of the Apple hardware weren’t included but T-Mobile has upgraded its current network to accommodate current iPhones that customers bought elsewhere. More than 1.7 million iPhones are now on the network.

T-Mobile is preparing to launch LTE service next year, which could support the iPhone 5 unless Apple reserves its latest model for larger carriers.

Reports today said the deal will involve a new, unannounced iPhone model.

That would track with deals T-Mobile has made with other handset makers. Nokia, for instance, provides T-Mobile with the Lumia 810 – a variant on the Lumia 820 series that larger carriers such as AT&T offer. Perhaps T-Mobile will get the iPhone 4T.

It could also mean that T-Mobile won’t get the iPhone until Apple releases the next model, which tends to happen in the fall.

T-Mobile USA Chief Executive John Legere told investors in Bonn that the carrier suffered because a “certain number” of customers wouldn’t come to its stores if it didn’t have the iPhone.

Legere said the company won’t see cash flow benefits from the deal until 2014, but T-Mobile didn’t bet the farm on the iPhone like Sprint did with a $15 billion commitment to Apple.

“This is not a volume commitment the size of what Sprint agreed to or anything close to it,” he said in the presentation, which was shared via YouTube.

Legere said he can’t discuss details of the Apple device coming to T-Mobile but said it “will be a dramatically different experience,” adding that “it is different, it is unique.”

Perhaps it comes in magenta?

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the deal but declined further comment.

Of greater importance than any particular handset are plans to boost capital investments “considerably” over the next three years. This includes increased spending by T-Mobile USA following its merger with MetroPCS, which DT expects to close within the first half of 2013.

Overall DT expects capital investments of 9.8 billion euros next year, up from previous plans to invest 8.3 billion. That’s mostly for wireless broadband in the U.S. and Germany.

Specifically, the company plans to spend around $4.8 billion next year on T-Mobile USA’s network modernization and blending of the MetroPCS network. It plans to investment $3 billion in 2013 and again in 2015.

Here’s the Apple mention in the DT release:

T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013.

A T-Mobile USA spokesman in Bellevue said the company won’t be expanding upon the statement.

Here’s a slide from Legere’s presentation:


Here’s a video of Legere’s presentation:

Comments | Topics: Apple, apple, gadgets


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