Earlier yesterday, TmoNews obtained a write-up of T-Mobile's internal Town Hall held on September 15, where Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman was quoted as saying, " We are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year."
This simple statement has set off many long-time T-Mobile customers online, who are now ready to sign up with any other iPhone-toting carrier, all before the new iPhone has even been announced or T-Mobile has confirmed this statment.
Assuming Brodman really made this statement to T-Mobile employees, I think it's telling he did not say T-Mobile will never get the iPhone 5, just that it's not going to be adding it to the lineup in 2011. As the country's number four carrier with the most uncertain future -- its merger with AT&T may be denied and parent company Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) just wants out of the U.S. market -- I think it knows better than anyone how lucrative and essential it is to get the next-gen iPhone. But it's also possible that Apple's partnership with AT&T, T-Mobile's GSM rival and potential owner, could have a clause that gives AT&T exclusivity on the phone for a set length of time, so there is nothing T-Mobile can do but wait its turn.
As AppleInsider mentioned, it is also possible that it will be the rumored iPhone 4S/GS, rather than the iPhone 5, that will be coming to T-Mobile; after all, Brodman's comment only cited the iPhone 5. Of course, that is assuming the updated iPhone 4S/GS is even for real, but we won't find out until Apple makes it official one way or another, purportedly in a couple of weeks.
Those who must get the next iPhone but prefer T-Mobile's more reasonable plans and service, you still have an option: purchase an unlocked phone from the Apple store when it hits stores, and go the Pay-As-You-Go route and use the slower 2G/EDGE network when not in Wi-Fi range. If it turns out T-Mobile will be rolled into AT&T after all, at least you won't be stuck in a contract with AT&T.
Lost in the discussion about T-Mobile's lack of the iPhone 5 is the other little tidbit Brodman revealed at the Town Hall: that T-Mobile will be announcing two new phones on Monday, September 26, with one potentially being the Samsung Galaxy S II, also known as the iPhone-killer. T-Mobile's PR team also confirmed it will be announcing some new handsets next week, according to BGR:
We don’t comment on rumors. We remain focused on expanding our portfolio of 4G smartphones. We look forward to sharing on Monday, news about our latest and greatest product lineup.
I'm not convinced the GS2 will appeal to the same crowd as the iPhone's, so I doubt the carrier's release of the popular Samsung phone will ease the pain of disappointed T-Mobile customers. It seems anything short of a T-Mobile-branded-iPhone 5 in 2011 will not be enough for customers, and by 2012 it could be all too late for the beleaguered carrier. I hope I'm wrong.
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- U.S. Justice Dept. moves to block AT&T, T-Mobile merger
- CNET: T-Mobile executive squashes iPhone 5 rumor