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T-Mobile gets LTE in 2013, says iPhone 4S cost 700K users

updated 08:40 am EST, Thu February 23, 2012

T-Mobile uses failed ATT merger to add LTE

T-Mobile in reporting its fall quarter's results revealed that it would join other major US carriers in adopting LTE. The breakup fees and spectrum transfers from AT&T's abandoned takeover deal gave it the resources to add the faster network in "key US markets." It planned to use its existing AWS spectrum in the 1,700MHz and possibly 2,100MHz bands and would have a deployment in 2013.

The company was already planning a $4 billion investment that was partially intended to add HSPA+ coverage in the 1,900MHz band, which would help both to free up spectrum for LTE as well as increase the number of people who could use 3G. It would let those with unlocked devices on T-Mobile, such as the iPhone, get 3G that they had normally been denied in the areas where the coverage had been switched. AT&T customers roaming on T-Mobile should likewise keep their 3G.

In the meantime, T-Mobile was continuing to struggle and was unusually specific among US carriers in specifically blaming the lack of the iPhone for its problems. Although its pre-depreciation operating income was up slightly to $1.4 billion, the carrier argued that the iPhone 4S launch had reversed improvements in its ability to keep customers. A total of 706,000 contract customers were lost in the fall 2011 quarter, or nearly twice as many as the 389,000 it had lost during the summer.

Churn, or the ratio of departing customers, had dropped but was still higher overall than others, at 3.6 percent overall and 2.6 percent just for the core contract subscribers. AT&T and Verizon have usually been under two percent overall and increasingly closer to one percent.

T-Mobile is still hopeful of a turnaround and is planning to carry new Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. However, its repeated mention of the iPhone, which appeared seven times in its release despite not being part of the existing lineup, made it clear that the company wasn't finding success in Android and wanted to lean on Apple for help. T-Mobile was the first Android-supporting carrier in the world, picking up the G1 in October 2008, but ultimately didn't benefit significantly from the strategy.

Moving to 1,900MHz HSPA+ and adding 1,700MHz LTE may be key to these goals. Along with immediate 3G compatibility, the LTE would be on a similar frequency to that used by the top three Canadian carriers and thus let Apple make one LTE iPhone that could cover most, if not all, of North America.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +2

    Hard to believe...

    The media continues to say that Android is easily winning the smartphone market share race and that Android smartphones are so much better than iPhones. It's just strange that T-Mobile which mostly deals with Android smartphones is losing customers even though they're selling much less expensive Android smartphones (with lower subsidy costs) instead of the more expensive iPhones. I would figure that T-Mobile is selling some of the most popular Android smartphones which supposedly best the iPhone 4S feature-wise, so it must be some other reason why T-Mobile is losing customers. The Droid addicts certainly claim that Android smartphones are clearly superior to iPhones so it must be more than just a hardware difference. It's possible that lack of 4G-LTE is causing the customer loss because the pro-Android camp swears that 4G is such an excellent feature. I just figured that there would be plenty of customers not willing to pay for the extra cost of 4G bandwidth, but I may be wrong about that.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2002

    +2

    Dump LG as a supplier

    The G2X didn't help TMO. LG made a crappy phone and neither of the two supported it. They deserve what they got.

  1. Inkling

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jul 2006

    +2

    Support iPhones fully

    I've got an iPhone on T-Mobile and overall, I'm happy with what I'm getting. But I can also see why others might desert T-Mobile to have the full set of iPhone features. The problem is that T-Mobile is doing little to address their concerns.

    Illustrations:

    1. T-Mobile support is great, but the last time I dealt with it, I immediately hit a road block. The issue had nothing to do with my iPhone or indeed any phone, but because I was using an unsupported iPhone, the support person wanted to immediately go through an elaborate 'wait by another phone' process. T-Mobile needs to fully support iPhones and eliminate that hassle.

    2. iPhone users give up something to use T-Mobile. Typically, its the hassle of OS upgrades once an iPhone is jail-broke and unlocked. Give iPhone users something in compensation for that hassle, perhaps free messaging or a small amount of free data. Remember the choice isn't between having them as users with that small added cost or having them as users without that added cost. It's between having them as customers and not having them as customers. And how much is a few hundred messages a month going to cost T-Mobile anyway? Besides, iPhone users come with a added plus. T-Mobile isn't having to subsidize the cost of their phone. Reward them for that with added services.

    Now that this mess with AT&T is over, T-Mobile needs to get busy doing something to attract iPhone users to T-Mobile rather than just whining about being left out in the cold. And given how Sprint's profitability is being crushed by their iPhone deal, T-Mobile might actually be better off not doing a deal with Apple but taking advantage of all those millions of post-contract iPhones coming on the market.

  1. facebook_Terrin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012

    +2

    T-Mobile is Great

    I have have two iPhones on T-Mobile. I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else. I say this having come from both AT&T and Verizon. I pay $63 a month for two lines. I only have data on one line (not possilbe on AT&T and Verizon). To use the same two phones on AT&T I would have to pay over $140 a month. Further, AT&T is throttling users before they get to their 2 GB limits. If T-Mobile gets the iPhone and I want to buy new subsidized iPhones by plan will only go up to about $100 a month until the iPhones are paid off.


    Even if you bought the iPhones unsubsidized and unlocked you'd still save substancial money on T-Mobile. For instance, if I carried the iPhone price minus the $199 upfront cost over 24 months that is less then twenty dollars a month. So for one phone my price would be about $82 a month over a typical two year contract.

    Although I can only use Edge service on T-Mobile, I stream Pandora regularly, browse the internent, and get email. The only time I have have trouble is with streaming video. Even that works without stalling sometimes. Moreover, with the new caps on AT&T and Verizon, you can't effectively stream video on those networks anyway.

  1. facebook_Terrin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012

    0

    T-Mobile is Great

    I have have two iPhones on T-Mobile. I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else. I say this having come from both AT&T and Verizon. I pay $63 a month for two lines. I only have data on one line (not possilbe on AT&T and Verizon). If I wanted to add data to the second phone, it only cost $10 a month for unlimited. To use the same two phones on AT&T I would have to pay over $140 a month. Further, AT&T is throttling users before they get to their 2 GB limits. If T-Mobile gets the iPhone and I want to buy new subsidized iPhones by plan will only go up to about $100 a month until the iPhones are paid off.


    Even if you bought the iPhones unsubsidized and unlocked you'd still save substancial money on T-Mobile. For instance, if I carried the iPhone price minus the $199 upfront cost over 24 months that is less then twenty dollars a month. So for one phone my price would be about $82 a month over a typical two year contract.

    Although I can only use Edge service on T-Mobile, I stream Pandora regularly, browse the internent, and get email. The only time I have have trouble is with streaming video. Even that works without stalling sometimes. Moreover, with the new caps on AT&T and Verizon, you can't effectively stream video on those networks anyway.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: Hard to believe...

    The media continues to say that Android is easily winning the smartphone market share race and that Android smartphones are so much better than iPhones.

    Really. Guess I miss all those articles talking about how Android is so much better. Where are these? And, please, no links to DroidNN and say "See, there's lot's of them!"

    It's just strange that T-Mobile which mostly deals with Android smartphones is losing customers even though they're selling much less expensive Android smartphones (with lower subsidy costs) instead of the more expensive iPhones.

    But then you're reading into this that it must be the iPhone that is causing them to lose customers. "Well, they lost customers. They don't sell the iPhone. Therefore the iPhone is the reason they're losing customers". It could be that their service is just bad and people are leaving for other carriers. I doubt all 700k of those customers they lost went to get an iPhone.

    The Droid addicts certainly claim that Android smartphones are clearly superior to iPhones so it must be more than just a hardware difference.

    As opposed to the iPhone fanboys, who say that the iPhone is clearly superior to any other device out there? Because, as we know, there's only two reasons people don't buy an iPhone: (a) They're too damn cheap, or (b) they hate apple. That's it. No other reason at all.

    It's possible that lack of 4G-LTE is causing the customer loss because the pro-Android camp swears that 4G is such an excellent feature.

    And if the iPhone was the first out with 4G, we'd hear how Apple was "ahead of the curve" and "iPhones are better than android because they're 4G" (you know, like how we were continually told how the camera on an iPhone wasn't important, so it being like 2MP didn't matter; but once it went to 8MP, it was a big deal). But since Apple has decided 4G isn't worthy yet, we hear how 4G is over-rated and nothing of importance.

  1. DaJoNel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2010

    +2

    @testudo

    T-Mobile themselves said that they lost 700k due to no iPhone. Can't get much clearer than that. A lot of times, when you unsubscribe from a service, the company asks why. It's really not hard to believe that 700k people left because of a glaring lack of smart phones.

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