Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu is made waves today by saying T-Mobile could be the next carrier in the U.S. to get the iPhone, saying that the changes to the iPhone necessary would be much less since it operates on the same technology (GSM) as current exclusive carrier AT&T.
The statement goes against the prevailing wisdom that Apple would turn to Verizon to continue expanding availability of the device. AT&T operates its 3G network in the 1900MHz band, whereas T-Mobile uses the 1700/2100MHz band. Both use the 850MHz band, meaning Apple would only need to add a single band (1700MHz) to make 3G work fully. iPhone 4 and the 3GS have already added the 2100MHz band.
With 34 million subscribers, T-Mobile would provide a significant new market for Apple. Add to this that the Cupertino company already offers the iPhone on T-Mobile’s European carriers and such a partnership is not too far fetched. Wu says that the phone could arrive as early as this fall.
Representatives with T-Mobile said that while they would love to carry the device, “ultimately it is Apple’s decision,” and refused to comment further on any speculation.
Personally, while I think it’s the logical thing to do, I don’t think its the best idea from a business sense. Verizon has some 93 million customers, which would obviously mean a much larger potential market for Apple. Spending money on development of a CDMA-capable device may not be such a bad idea.
Either way, we seem to go through this every so many months lately so I’m not expecting the iPhone to go anywhere until Apple says it will. And from all the statements — and its actions too- it appears Apple is still happy to be with AT&T.
[Hat tip: Associated Press]