updated 01:17 pm EST, Thu November 29, 2012
Arrangement might see extra 4 million iPhones sold in 2013
"Speculation is heightening" that T-Mobile USA will announce an iPhone deal next week, says Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig. The carrier has been gradually expanding an iPhone-compatible HSPA+ network, now accessible in 10 metropolitan areas, with the goal of at least providing faster data for unlocked iPhones, owned by about 1.5 million T-Mobile subscribers. Last week, COO Jim Alling expressed a desire to sell the iPhone, but stated that the carrier wanted the "economies to be right."
Craig notes that T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, is holding an analysts' day next week, which could be a launching point to announce an iPhone deal. The absence of a T-Mobile iPhone has been causing the carrier to bleed subscribers; for Apple, meanwhile, adding the last national carrier would give the company access to 98 percent of the US post-paid market, and 75 percent of all American cellphone subscribers.
Craig estimates that T-Mobile would add about 4 million units to CY2013 iPhone sales, on top of the analyst's current prediction of 179 million. That would boost Apple revenue by 1 percent, and earnings per share by 2 percent.