T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth largest wirelesss carrier, may begin offering Apple’s iPhone for the first time in 2013 according to a Morgan Stanley analyst. The launch date cited would make sense given that T-Mobile USA will begin rolling out its 4G LTE network in early 2013, which would make the data download experience at least competitive against Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, and Sprint Nextel.
Morgan Stanley analyst Nick Delfas did not offer any additional information, according to a CNET report, but says that T-Mobile can be the home to about 1- to 2-million more iOS subscribers in the first quarter of the next year.
Currently, T-Mobile is the only carrier of the top four national carriers to not offer the iPhone on its network, though the carrier hasn’t been shy about wanting to offer the iPhone. Most recently, it has launched a “Bring Your Own Device” campaign that would allow unlocked iPhones to operate on its network. In the past, unlocked iPhones would only work on T-Mobile’s slower 2G EDGE network, but thanks to a failed takeover by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile had inherited some iPhone-compatible 3G spectrum in select markets. This means that in some areas, T-Mobile is delivering 3G HSPA+ speeds to iPhone customers, though 4G LTE is still not available even for those customers who bring an unlocked iPhone 5.
T-Mobile USA has announced plans for a merger with smaller regional provider MetroPCS. T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom hopes that the combined spectrum of both companies will help T-Mobile USA deliver an LTE network that is competitive, fast, and efficient.
As T-Mobile is also one of the leading prepaid carriers in the U.S., it could help to deliver the iPhone to new market demographics that may not have been able to afford the iPhone. Sprint, which owns prepaid brands Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile, is also making older generations of the iPhones available on those prepaid brands.