T-Mobile customers are quickly jumping ship, turning to rival carriers to bag the iPhone. But on Thursday, the company announced that it will finally begin selling Apple’s immensely popular smartphone from next year, and it is hoping that the move will help it claw back some subscribers. Chief Executive John Legere wants to see it making a positive impact on the carrier’s subscription numbers by 2013.
“It is an aggressive target but we think it is possible,” Legere told reporters on Friday.
To say T-Mobile has been struggling without the iPhone would be an understatement. It lost 510,000 customers during the first quarter of 2012, then 557,000 customers during the second quarter, followed by a further 492,000 customers in the third quarter. That’s almost 1.56 million customers gone in nine months.
While not all of them would have jumped ship for the iPhone, Apple’s device — or lack thereof — was certainly playing a big part in the mass exodus. Legere said: “It was very clear that a certain number of customers wouldn’t come to the store if we didn’t have the iPhone. There was a definite churn impact.
The iPhone has been making such a big impact on T-Mobile that the carrier has actually been trying to court iPhone customers into taking out one of its SIM-only calling plans. It’s even providing iPhone 5 micro-SIMs, despite not carrying the handset, and it’s been hard at work upgrading its HSPA+ network to support the iPhone in select areas.