updated 06:00 pm EST, Mon November 30, 2009
T-Mobile favored over VZ in iPhone growth
Verizon's pro-Android stance may push Apple to choose T-Mobile as its next US carrier for the iPhone, Thomas Weisel analyst Doug Reid said today in an investor's note. Assuming AT&T's exclusivity in the US ends next year, the researcher believes T-Mobile would be the easier option as Google's deal with Verizon creates a united front that sets up Verizon as an 'enemy' to Apple. T-Mobile would be a relatively easy addition, while Verizon is deemed less likely to be an option until 4G is widely available in 2011.
Technically, it's not clear whether Apple would be inclined to make the move. T-Mobile already uses GSM and EDGE (2G) data, but its HSPA-based 3G operates on the 1,700MHz band and often needs T-Mobile specific network support to function properly. Also, more than one source has suggested Apple may be using a dual-mode Qualcomm chipset that would let the iPhone run on Verizon's existing network as well as AT&T's without having to produce an entirely separate device.
Also, T-Mobile is comparatively much smaller than most of the major carriers and would represent a relatively modest expansion for Apple in the US. It has just 33.4 million customers, or less than half of AT&T's base, and has been on the decline in recent months in part because of customers switching for the iPhone. Verizon is now larger than AT&T and potentially gives Apple much wider reach. [via TheStreet]