Friday, December 07, 2012

T-Mobile to get the iPhone; will resurrect AT&T-bashing ad campaign

It's a done deal, and the question is whether or not it will prove to be T-Mobile USA's savior. As was rumored, on Thursday parent company Deusche Telekom announced that starting in 2013, its T-Mobile USA subsidiary will finally have access to the iPhone.

Strangely, the announcement was nearly an afterthought in a press release about its financial plans, running through 2015. To be clear, the word iPhone was never seen in the press release, not was the word iPad, and Apple was only mentioned twice.
In addition, T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013. [...]

The Group's free cash flow is expected to decrease to around EUR 5 billion in 2013 (scheduled figure for 2012: around EUR 6 billion), primarily as a result of the increased capital expenditure and the systematic implementation of the Challenger strategy in the U.S. market, including the agreement with Apple.
That was the extent of any mention of Apple or iDevices in the press release.

Thus it's unclear if T-Mobile will get the iPhone, the iPad, or both in 2013. Eventually they will get both, but it may turn out much like Sprint, which had the iPhone for some time before it finally gained access to the iPad (with the newly released iPad mini and iPad 4).

In addition to the big Apple news, T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, announced a commitment to investing $4.7 billion in network upgrades in 2013, $3 billion in 2014, and $3 billion more in 2015. $4 billion of investment will be LTE-related. T-Mobile is the only of the Big Four that has not begun an LTE rollout; admittedly, it is the No. 4 carrier in the U.S.

T-Mobile USA has a goal of covering 100 million people with LTE by mid-2013 and 200 million by the end of the year. At the same time, the acquisition of MetroPCS continues to move forward, with T-Mobile expecting to have regulatory approval by the first half of 2013.

In addition, T-Mobile USA has a large ad campaign planned, one that in an analyst presentation was repeatedly referred to as "fun." If you recall how T-Mobile used to hammer AT&T over its network, that's going to be the focus again.

The idea T-Mobile USA will try to convey is "You love your iPhone, but you hate AT&T," but of course, there is also Verizon, with the nation's largest LTE network, and Sprint, with the Big Four's only completely unthrottled and uncapped service.

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