T-Mobile May Get iPhones In October - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices

T-Mobile May Get iPhones In October

With the expected launch of the iPhone 5 this fall, will all major US carriers offer iOS phones?

Slideshow: Verizon iPhone 4 Teardown
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Verizon iPhone 4 Teardown
Once the sole differentiator for AT&T's wireless service, the Apple iPhone is now set to roll out on all major U.S. carriers. Just days after reports that Sprint is poised to unleash iPhone 4 and 5 on its network in October, reports say that T-Mobile will join the growing list of companies offering Apple handsets to its customers.

According to MacTrast blogger J. Genn Kunzler, a source inside T-Mobile has leaked information from an internal briefing on the deal.

"The informant, who requested to remain anonymous, went on to claim that the iPhone 5 would also operate at 3G speeds on T-Mobile US network. Current unlocked iPhone 4 units can only operate at 2G 'edge' speeds on T-Mobile's network, and lack certain network-dependent features, such as Visual Voicemail," said Kunzler.

While the T-Mobile source reportedly speculated on the iPhone's potential impact for T-Mobile's bottom line, such speculation may ring hollow if a pending acquisition by AT&T moves forward. At present, legal challenges appear to be slowing down the possible merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, but in the event that the two companies become one, the hype over T-Mobile iPhones could prove very short-lived. After all, AT&T was the first U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone.

Some outlets, including MacTrast, have suggested that this multi-carrier release could indicate an unlocked iPhone 5, but it's not yet clear whether this will be the case. Apple does sell the iPhone 4 as an unlocked device, and could very well do the same with the iPhone 5, but these carrier-specific versions of the device may yet come locked to the reselling carrier's network.

The availability of the iPhone on all major U.S. carriers bodes well for enterprise customers, because it means a company can now issue iOS handsets to its users without engaging in the hassle of switching carriers or dealing with multiple carriers to provision its users. Many enterprises have longstanding roots with Sprint, dating back to early contracts with Nextel and its walkie-talkie handsets, and those companies will now have the flexibility to adopt iPhones within their current contracts. Meanwhile, T-Mobile, which is popular with many small businesses, appears set to offer the same luxury to its customers.

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