T-Mobile has announced its earnings for the 2011 holiday quarter, and the GSM carrier lost over 800,000 subscribers. Being the only major U.S. carrier left not carrying the iPhone, T-Mobile saw a 3.3% decrease in revenue to $20.6 billion.
Although the network’s growth has been on the decline for awhile, the fourth quarter of 2011 resulted in an exponentially greater loss following the launch of the iPhone 4S.
T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, in an official statement:
The sequential and year-on-year increase was primarily due to higher churn of branded contract customers as a result of competitive market conditions and all of T-Mobile’s primary nationwide competitors offering the iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter of 2011. The year-on-year increase was partially offset by an improvement in prepaid branded churn as a result of unlimited Monthly 4G prepaid plans introduced in 2011.
CEO and President of T-Mobile USA Philipp Humm reiterated that “not carrying the iPhone led to a significant increase in contract deactivations in the fourth quarter of 2011.” Interestingly, an unlocked iPhone 4S can run on T-Mobile’s network due to the device’s HSPA+ frequency compatibility. Unfortunately, the majority of wireless subscribers in the U.S. still buy new handsets with a two-year carrier contract.
T-Mobile has been very vocal about its desire to officially carry Apple’s iPhone, stating over and over again that the ball is in Apple’s court. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and C Spire all offer the iPhone in the United States.
AT&T was forced to give T-Mobile access to a considerable portion of its wireless spectrum as a part of the merger break-up fee. After the failed merger, T-Mobile is recovering and “reinvigorating its challenger strategy” to roll out 4G LTE to its customer base by 2013.