iPhone on T-Mobile USA a 'big win' for Apple, says analyst

iPhone on T-Mobile USA a 'big win' for Apple, says analyst

Summary: The iPhone is to be made available to millions of T-Mobile USA subscribers, which should help buoy up what might otherwise be a soggy June quarter for Apple.

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone, iPad
(Image: T-Mobile)

The iPhone is finally coming to T-Mobile USA, and one analyst describes this as a "big win" for Apple that could help the company's June quarter outlook.

According to analyst Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee, the addition to Apple of T-Mobile USA's existing 33 million subscribers,as well as the 9 million that the upcoming acquisition of MetroPCS will bring to the fold, is "positive", as this was one of the few remaining large carriers in the world that didn't carry iPhone.

T-Mobile USA's acquisition of MetroPCS will give it a total of 42 million subscribers, close to Sprint Nextel's 55 million, but far behind the 107 million that AT&T has, or the 116 million that go with Verizon Wireless.

"We believe," wrote Wu in a note to clients, "this will help AAPL capture incremental customers and strengthen its position against Google's Android, which got its start on T-Mobile USA."

And the consensus is that Apple could do with the sales boost. Wu's supply chain contacts say that iPhone build plans have been cut due to weaker than expected demand and what appears to be an inventory drawdown ahead of a refresh. Prevailing opinion among investors is that the June quarter will be conservative, so the addition of a new pool of potential customers is a good thing and could help keep the quarter less conservative than it might have been.

Wu sees more carrier wins in Apple's future. So far, neither China Mobile nor NTT Docomo carry the iPhone. China Mobile is the world's largest wireless carrier, with 703 million subscribers, while NTT Docomo has 61 million subscribers, which amounts to more than half of Japan's cellular market. Either of these could be massive wins for Apple.

Another likely catalyst during the second half of the year will be product refreshes. Wu anticipates refreshes including a lower-cost iPhone and new iPads.

Topics: Apple, iPhone, iPad

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  • Anyone who wanted an iPhone, has one

    That was part of why T-Mo lost so many customers. Look at all the people who flocked to the horrendous service at AT&T to get an iPhone when they were the only provider. AAPL is in afor a soggy quarter because the iPhone market is saturated.
    • This.

      Few were sufficiently loyal to T-Mobile to either stay with the company despite wanting an iPhone, or be part of the group of 1.9 million people who have unlocked iPhones on the network already.

      Some will sell. I wouldn't invest your retirement fund into Apple as a result of the announcement.

  • A win for Apple?

    Was it T-Mobile who chose not to carry the iPhone? Or was it Apple unwilling to make the iPhone available to T-Mobile? I would say it was the latter and not the former. In that case I wouldn't call it a win.
  • Wait and see....

    I'm taking a wait and see attitude on this one. Consider that 1) T-Mobile is abandoning the carrier subsidy model that tends to favor expensive devices like the iPhone, and 2) Cricket Wireless, a no-contract non-subsidized carrier has had difficulty drawing down a $100 million dollar iPhone inventory because customers simply didn't want to pay up front for an iPhone, when there were plenty of cheaper Android alternatives available.

    That said, if the iPhone sells for roughly the same price as the Samsung Galaxy III on t-mobile, then I suppose it will likely do at least as well.
    • Some prepaid iPhones are selling.

      I agree with you but only have two things to point out about that: 1) The never ending scourge of iphone muggings/robberies is just as good of an indicator as auction sites, of the high premium these devices still command as well as the ongoing demand for them. 2) Straight talk has no problem selling theirs at Walmart for $649. But this is for Verizon's fairly widespread coverage at a bottom-barrel price ($45). TMobile looks to undercut carriers whose league they aren't even in.
      • ...

        By that I mean, they can't even match the deal offered by their own MVNOs or the competing ones, and that's truly the class TMobile has been relegated to.
  • Strange

    My brother has used an iPhone on T-Mobile on day one of the iPhone release. He just took his iPhone he bought at the AT&T store and activated it there. AT&T was too busy to track him down. Lot's of people did that.
  • Anal-yst lol

    By now most customers who's with T-Mobile are Galaxy (Android) users and wouldn't want a iPhone. If they did wanted a iPhone they would of gotten one already. I don't see how this is going to help Apple at all. Analyst are always wrong anyways so I wouldn't count on them, lol. T-Mobile will be the future of cell phones. People hate contracts and this is the way to go. I get unlimited everything for just $30 a month with T-Mobile, yes it's possible.
  • T-Mobile's network is terrible

    So having a bandwidth hungry phone on it just makes the experience worse. It is well documented that the iPhone is bandwidth hungry, so I am not bashing Apple here, rather, T-Mobile.
    • Droids are also bandwidth-hungry...

      and experience the same issues that iPhone will have on T-Mobile's joke of a network.

      It's bad enough that VOICE ONLY phones (yeah, people still use those) have issues calling out. That's something I thought T-Mo would have fixed 18 months ago when I jumped ship to Verizon, but apparently not...
    • Not in my market

      HSPDA+ on T-Mobile just sings in my area.
  • A win for Apple? Very unlikely, since, T-Mobile will add to the number

    or cell-service providers that will compete for the available and saturated number of iPHone users. The only thing that will happen, is that the consumers will play "musical chairs" with the service providers, looking for the cheaper option to which they can take their current version of iPhones. There won't be a net increase of iPhone sales, and the numbers will remain static for a while, and perhaps forever. The iPhone is no longer the trendsetter nor the must-have gadget that it was several years ago. People have moved on from the novelty of owning an Apple iPhone. It's now about, who's got the latest-and-greatest", and who offers the best service at an affordable price. Economic factors don't favor Apple anymore, and people no longer have the "disposable" income they used to have.
  • How is it newsworthy if...

    one or even two or three analysts make a claim? Wake me up if bus loads of top notch analysts with top notch reputations start saying something. In the mean time, it might as well be amateur hour. Even if the best analyst in the world made a claim and no one else did, I'm probably not going to listen to him.
  • The credibility of this report

    Is easy to evaluate, look at Apple's stock valuation, Apples stock went down on the news, even though it is in a recovery period from the 700 high. This may be mainly due to the risk Europe exerts on the Market. Still iPhone on TMob network has no real effect on Apple's bottom line.

    The market expectation does not show any positive bump on it. So real analysts would consider this report useless.
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