As you’ve probably heard by now, Apple has finally decided to launch the iPhone via Sprint, too (both the 4S and 4 versions).
The third largest US carrier has thus joined Verizon, which is offering Apple’s smartphone since February this year, and AT&T, which is selling the iPhone since the very first day it was launched (back in 2007). This, of course, leaves T-Mobile as the only major US carrier that doesn’t have the iPhone in its line-up.
Not long before Tim Cook unveiled the new iPhone 4S in Cupertino last week, Cole Brodman, Chief Marketing Officer at T-Mobile USA, posted an article over at the carrier’s official blog, titled “About the iPhone.” In the article, the CMO stated:
“We think the iPhone is a great device and Apple knows that we’d like to add it to our line-up. Today, there are over a million T-Mobile customers using unlocked iPhones on our network. “
Naturally, this gave hopes that T-Mobile would carry the iPhone starting later this year. But it obviously won’t happen. So, one may think that T-Mo is going to lose a fairly important part of its customers because of this. Well, maybe. But I don’t see why this will matter in the long run. Not with AT&T ready to buy T-Mobile. Even though many (including Sprint) are opposing the merger, I’m pretty sure the deal will take place, and it should be closed sometime next year – when current T-Mobile customers will finally be able to buy subsidized iPhones.
This (the AT&T acquisition) was likely one of the main reasons why Apple didn’t want to complicate things now with an iPhone for T-Mobile USA. Another possible reason is that T-Mo’s HSPA network uses the 1700MHz AWS spectrum band (unlike AT&T’s) – so Apple would’ve needed to put a different 3G radio in the iPhone 4S than the one featured now for it to work on T-Mo’s 3G. Apple may have thought this would be too much of a hassle (especially since the new iPhone also has a CDMA / EV-DO radio inside), and it probably considered T-Mobile (with its 33 million customers) is too small for all the trouble.
Anyway, until the AT&T – T-Mobile merger is completed, does T-Mo have smartphones that can stand next to the new iPhone 4S? Well, yes, it does: the Samsung Galaxy S II ($229 on contract) and the HTC Amaze 4G ($259 on contract), which are both available for order as of today, coming with Android Gingerbread, dual-core processors, 8MP cameras, and quite awesome displays (4.3 inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus on the S II, and 4.3 inch qHD on the Amaze 4G).
And let’s not forget about the HTC Sensation 4G (launched not long ago for $199), which also features Gingerbread, a qHD screen, dual-core processor, and 8MP camera. There’s also the HTC Radar 4G, but that’s an option only if you’re into Windows Phone (Mango), since it can’t really compete with the iPhone 4S specs-wise.
So, T-Mo (which, by the way, has just announced two new Android tablets) certainly has iPhone 4S alternatives. Sure enough, this won’t keep some customers from leaving the carrier to get the new iPhone 4S. But as long as they’re going to AT&T, in a way they’ll come back to T-Mobile after the former completes the acquisition of the latter.