updated 10:49 am EST, Wed January 9, 2013
Should mean iPhone 5 will be first T-Mobile phone
T-Mobile USA will start selling the iPhone in about three to four months, says CEO John Legere. The executive made the comments at CES during an interview with Reuters. Although the carrier has previously confirmed plans to sell Apple products, it has never before explicitly mentioned the iPhone and set a narrow timeframe. Legere adds that the company's plans to end phone subsidies should take effect in the same window, the tradeoff being contract-free phones with lower monthly rates than most US carriers.
The quick timing of the T-Mobile iPhone launch suggests that the first model it will sell is a version of the iPhone 5, and not a next-generation device. Apple has never released a US iPhone before June, and during the past two years has switched to a fall launch schedule. T-Mobile could also conceivably start selling the iPhone 4 and 4S, but Apple might not want to invest the time and resources needed to retool older hardware for T-Mobile's network.
One possibility is that Apple doesn't intend to change anything except firmware, and will instead count on T-Mobile's recent frequency upgrades in some regions, which have given the carrier an AT&T-like frequency range. That would, however, mean that iPhones outside those regions would forego 3G or 4G.