updated 10:40 am EDT, Tue September 20, 2011
T-Mobile CMO rules out iPhone 5 in 2011
T-Mobile's Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman has dampened hopes for a T-Mobile native iPhone 5. Speaking at a town hall whose summary was spread to T-Mobile staff, he made explicit that "we are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year." Two new, unnamed smartphones would try to take its place in the TmoNews copy of the note.
Although T-Mobile has been seen on iPhone prototypes this year, talk of a launch on the fourth-largest US carrier has gone quiet. Most attention has shifted to a Sprint release and suggests that Apple is only interested in adding one more carrier in 2011.
While 3G frequency support is a factor, T-Mobile may also be banking on a currently in doubt acquisition by AT&T to solve its iPhone problem. The deal would see the two combine their frequency support and make iPhone support a given for existing T-Mobile subscribers. Other carriers, including Sprint, have objected to the merger as AT&T's sudden majority would make it much harder for them to get iPhones.
A small possibility exists that Brodman's statement, which is unusually singled out for a direct quote, might be an attempt to curb staff leaks or tamp down expectations to keep Android sales going until T-Mobile is ready. Verizon was reluctant to admit a deal in public even just a few months away as it anticipated a sales drop as customers waited in fall 2010 for the iPhone instead of buying an Android device already on the shelves. Some speculation has put T-Mobile's availability in early 2012, once Apple has cleared initial iPhone 5 demand.