By Kelli B. Grant
T-Mobile customers may not get a bite of the Apple after all.
After AT&T withdrew its merger deal with T-Mobile yesterday, industry experts say the likelihood of T-Mobile carrying the iPhone are slim in the short term, and that it may never get the popular smartphone. “The prospects are gone,” says Rick Singer, chief executive of marketing site GreatApps.com. Without AT&T, T-Mobile faces a number of challenges — including its status as the only major carrier without a fast LTE network — that may make Apple unwilling to work with it, says Alex Goldfayn, author of “Evangelist Marekting.” (Apple and T-Mobile did not respond to requests for comment.)
That said, T-mobile subscribers may one day chat with Siri. Both T-Mobile and AT&T use the same network technology, which would make it easy for Apple to develop a T-Mobile iPhone, says Andrew Eisner, director of content for electronics site Retrevo.com. And CNET claims some owners of unlocked iPhone 4S handsets have already made them work on T-Mobile’s network.
T-Mobile is likely to aggressively pursue the iPhone, too, says Todd Day, an industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “They need it to compete on a level playing field with the other carriers,” he says, “and ultimately, Apple is selling devices.” A T-Mobile iPhone would expand its reach to a currently Android-dominant carrier, he says. But negotiations take time, and any new merger talk could delay a deal as Apple waits to see how that pans out.
With additional reporting by Quentin Fottrell and Jeremy Olshan.