T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom has announced that the U.S. carrier would have “additions to its rate plan and product portfolio, including Apple products” in 2013.
This means finally, more than five years after it was released, the iPhone will hit T-Mobile, the last major carrier in the U.S. to get Apple’s popular phone.
An agreement between the two companies calls for the iPhone to start being offered in 2013. Apple’s iPad will also be sold by T-Mobile.
A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed the statement with NBC News, but would not elaborate on what specific products were coming:
T-Mobile has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together next year. Additional details will be made available at a later date.
It is not known whether an iPad will also be among the products coming to T-Mobile. Launching both the iPhone and iPad may be contingent on the roll-out of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network — a high-speed technology used by Apple products on competing U.S. carriers. Deutsche Telekom said that, for 2013, “The focus in the U.S. is on building out the LTE network.”
The addition of the iPhone could help T-Mobile, which has been battered by a failed merger attempt with AT&T and sagging subscriber numbers. Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint all offer the iPhone.
Using an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile’s network has been possible for years, though not always with the speeds guaranteed by other carriers. In fact, the company has said it has more than a million iPhones on its network. T-Mobile has advertised to AT&T iPhone owners who are off their contracts that they can switch to T-Mobile, which uses much of the same network protocols as AT&T.
The iPhone coming to T-Mobile is “very important,” said John Legere, T-Mobile president and CEO, during a presentation Thursday (hear his comments about 5 minutes into the video).
“We’ve become an incredible sales machine of the other very competitive devices … What was missing? It’s very clear. A certain number of customers wouldn’t come to the store if we didn’t have the iPhone.”
While not sharing other details of the company’s arrangement with Apple, Legere said that T-Mobile “worked very, very hard for a deal that made sense for us.”