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T-Mobile subscribers may get iPhone at last

November 29, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • A T-Mobile store in New York.
A T-Mobile store in New York. (Justin Lane / EPA )

Sprint has it. Verizon has it. AT&T has it. And next week, T-Mobile might announce it is getting it too.

We're talking about the iPhone, of course.

In a recent note to investors, Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig  said "speculation is heightening" that T-Mobile USA's parent company Deutsche Telecom will announce a deal to make the iPhone available to T-Mobile users as early as next week, Fortune reports.

Quiz: What set the Internet on fire in 2012?

If the speculation is accurate, loyal T-Mobile subscribers will soon have a shot at getting their very own iPhone, without having to change carriers, or go through the rigamarol of buying an unlocked phone somewhere else.

(T-Mobile has tried to make that process easier by offering iPhone-ready SIM cards.)

T-Mobile currently has 33 million customers in the U.S., according to Fortune. If it does indeed start carrying the iPhone,  Apple will have access to 75% of all cellphone subscribers in the U.S. 98% of American cellphone users in the post-paid market (people who pay for their cellphone service after they have used it), Craig wrote.

He estimates that T-Mobile customers might purchase 4 million iPhones in 2013. That's a drop in the bucket, compared with the 179 million iPhones that Craig already expects to be sold next year. 

Although a T-Mobile deal to carry the iPhone wouldn't have a big impact on Apple, it could mean a lot to T-Mobile, which has admitted to losing customers because it doesn't carry Apple's smartphone.

And, of course, it would be a big change for T-Mobile customers as well.

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