Slow to begin building their own 4G LTE network, T-Mobile won’t be getting the iPhone 5 this year, but the iPhone 6 is a definite possibility.
There is consensus in the tech community that the next iPhone will be the first 4G LTE smartphone that Apple has ever created. Unfortunately for T-Mobile, it seems unlikely that they will be one of the U.S. carriers selling it.
News today broke that T-Mobile is finally beginning to build its 4G LTE network in the United States. While this may seem like good news to T-Mobile customers, it comes at the expense of the nation’s fourth-largest mobile carrier failing to get their LTE network up in time to sell this year’s iPhone 5. According to Geek.com: “T-Mobile will invest $4 billion into the deployment. The $3 billion breakup fee (plus much more in assets) that it received from AT&T is likely sparking the move. T-Mobile has struggled to keep up the other three US carriers. In terms of subscribers, it’s the number four US carrier, after Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint (in descending order).”
If 4G LTE is to be a defining feature of the iPhone 5 this year, it goes without saying that T-Mobile will not be considered as a viable iPhone reseller in the United States until their 4G network is fully operational. It might be possible to imagine them selling the iPhone 4 and 4S, but given the immense excitement surrounding the iPhone 5 this year, it is hard to imagine how selling what will be outdated and very outdated iPhones would constitute any kind of market advantage for T-Mobile.
The iPhone 6, however, is another issue entirely.
By the time the iPhone 6 is released, it will at the very least be Apple’s second foray into 4G. In fact, should Apple decide to release an iPhone 5S between the iPhone and iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 could turn out to be the third 4G iteration for Apple — and its release could be as far off as 2014. This would give T-Mobile plenty of time to implement a solid 4G LTE networks, and perhaps avoid having to iron out the many technical bugs that AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint may have to contend with in 2012, one the new (and first) LTE iPhone is released.
By Michael Nace