Speaking at the Morgan Stanley 12th Annual Technology, Media & Telecoms Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Alling said, "Make no mistake about it: We would love to carry the iPhone. However, we want the economies to be right for us."
Specifically, Alling said T-Mobile USA does not want to sign a deal "similar to one a competitor recently signed with Apple." He did not detail which carrier he was speaking of, but we'd guess that was a reference to Sprint, which began carrying the iPhone in late 2011 under a deal that some have said was Apple extracting its pound of flesh (or at least, a ton of money).
Sprint's four-year, $15.5 billion deal with Apple has substantially driven up Sprint's device subsidy cost. Sprint has even said that the iPhone portion of its business will not turn a profit until 2015.
However, there are other reasons to have the iPhone. Included in that is reduced churn, something that T-Mobile USA is seeing -- meaning a lot of users leaving the company -- and higher average return per user.
Alling did acknowledge that not carrying the iPhone has been resulted in subscriber defections, saying "We recognize that it has been a point of churn for us."
T-Mobile USA and the recently acquired Metro PCS hope to complete their merger early next year, and the company feels completion of the deal can not only add efficiency synergies, it can also put the company in a growth position.
In addition, T-Mobile is still on track to launch LTE in the second half of 2013 and expects to cover 200 million people with the 4G technology by year-end 2013.