T-Mobile: Lack of iPhone 4S Costing Us Subscribers

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Photo by Scoobyfoo - http://flic.kr/p/36jTkj
Photo by Scoobyfoo - http://flic.kr/p/36jTkj

The inability to sell the iPhone is hurting T-Mobile USA. The only one of four U.S. carriers not offering the Apple smartphone, T-Mobile announced it saw a drop in new subscribers due to the iPhone 4S launching at Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T in October.

The carrier added 126,000 customers during the third quarter, down from 137,000 new subscribers who joined the carrier during the same three-month period a year ago. The departure of contract subscribers “related to the iPhone 4S launches by competitors, will continue to be an area of concern,” T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm told reporters.

Soon after the news that Sprint — not T-Mobile — would be the third major U.S. carrier to get the iPhone, T-Mobile issued a perplexing statement seeming to put the onus on Apple. “Apple has not developed a version of the iPhone with technology that works on our fast 3G and 4G networks,” said Senior Marketing VP Andrew Sherrard. The technology that Apple doesn’t wan to support? A little-known wireless standard called Advanced Wireless Services, or AWS. Unlike CDMA and GSM, which are used by wide swaths of the globe, AWS is limited to parts of the U.S. and Canada.

As we’ve reported North America is no longer were the revenue is for Apple and others. Instead, China, South America and Asia are the hotspots — which use GSM and CDMA, not AWS. Little wonder, then that T-Mobile’s plaintive comment that who Apple partners with is Apple’s decision brought only the sound of crickets.

But you have to feel for T-Mobile. First they were passed over by Sprint, then C Spire Wireless, a company most consumers never heard of, gets the iPhone. One of its last hopes for the iPhone, to get the handset by being bought by AT&T, is then blocked – not only by the U.S. Justice Dept., but by iPhone sellers Sprint and C Spire.