updated 07:11 pm EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
Signs that iPhone has stopped or reversed previous decline
A study by the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) suggests that something between 300,000 and 400,000 current T-Mobile customers would have left the company for other providers had it not finally reached a deal with Apple to carry the iPhone. In addition, a poll taken just before the iPhone arrived on the US's fourth-largest carrier indicated that up to one quarter of all T-Mobile customers planned to get an iPhone as their next phone, suggesting that there would have been an even larger migration had the deal not happened.
The 300,000-400,000 figure comes from customers that might have otherwise jumped ship to other providers just in the last quarter, and is based on a survey of 500 phone activations between April and June (about 75 of the activations were on T-Mobile). Prior to the official iPhone deal, the company's marketing was heavily oriented to attracting unlocked iPhone customers to join its network, and since then the company has focused on alternative plan options that are designed to appeal to new customers thinking of switching to a different network.
If T-Mobile can slow or reverse the steady drop in clients it had seen in the years prior to gaining the iPhone, it would help the company stay viable and even grow to challenge Sprint, the next-largest competitor. In either case, the report indicates that it has been good for T-Mobile's overall health to have gained the popular smartphone. The company said it had sold more than a half-million iPhones in the quarter following its launch of the device in April.
The full effect of T-Mobile's addition of the iPhone in addition to its acquisition of postpaid carrier MetroPCS remains to be seen, as the iPhone is beginning to slip in popularity as buyers wait for the next model, expected in the company's third quarter. Android sales remain very important to the company, though flagship phones from Samsung, HTC and Nokia have thus far not done as well as expected.