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T-Mobile blames lack of iPhone for sluggish US sales

updated 01:05 pm EDT, Thu November 4, 2010

DT chief says lack of iPhone hurting T-Mobile USA

Deutsche Telekom's CEO Rene Obermann directly blamed the absence of the iPhone for the poor performance of T-Mobile USA. The carrier gained just 137,000 new subscribers in the summer, pushed mostly by prepaid users and not smartphones, leading Obermann to suggest that the absence of Apple was a factor. Network quality was important but didn't matter if the right devices weren't present, he said.

"Consumers like T-Mobile but they also want to have the iPhone," Obermann said during a call discussing the carrier's international results.

Although most rumors have pointed to a Verizon iPhone arriving early in 2011, T-Mobile has been occasionally identified as getting a model of its own as well. The closest to a confirmation came when Videotron mentioned plans to get its own version. Both Videotron and T-Mobile USA support the same 3G frequencies.

T-Mobile was the first carrier in the world to get Android and still gets high-profile devices like the G2 and myTouch 4G, but it has either grown slowly or taken losses in the past three years since many of its customers were either jumping to AT&T for the iPhone or, later, to Verizon for competing Android models. Roughly 24 percent of iPhone buyers this summer were new to AT&T, a significant portion of which were likely former T-Mobile users.

Apple is thought eager to expand beyond AT&T both to keep its iPhone growth steady but also to head off Android and BlackBerry sales. The decision to get an exclusive with AT&T helped with collaboration features such as Visual Voicemail but has since cost Apple ground with Google. As Android quickly became the most popular smartphone platform on Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, it let Google get the most marketing attention and high-profile releases. The deal likewise oversaturated AT&T's 3G network in certain cities and led some to deliberately avoid the iPhone solely for the choice of network.

By Electronista Staff


  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001



    how awful cell phone operating systems used to be, not that long ago?

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    iPhone is the perfect proof that...

    People would put up with horrifying network quality just to use that device (JB or not).

  1. daehl

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    Done deal?

    I could be totally off the wall, but my money says this is a done deal (iPhone on T-Mobile) if the CEO is willing to mention it as past deficiency. He's probably just waiting for the day when he's contractually allowed to publicly announce it.

    And while I'm sure having the iPhone would have helped their bottom line substantially, their problems also stem from lack of better Android phones, and the lack of any phone advertising for that matter. After being the first to introduce Android to the people, they released garbage for the next year or so. While Verizon released (and heavily promoted) the Droids, and Sprint released and promoted the Evo4G. T-Mobile put their money behind mediocre Android phones and free lines for Kids...

    Maybe they can gain some momentum with the G2 and especially the new myTouch4G on their HSPA+ network. They need to go on the offense if they have any hope of long term survival.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    1700 mhz.

    The sole reason tmob doesn't have iPhone.

    - A

  1. daehl

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    Re: 1700 mhz

    Why's that?

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