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T-Mobile gets iPhone in 2013: Will it matter?

It's unclear whether the iPhone will change the competitive landscape in T-Mobile's favor or simply be table stakes.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

T-Mobile USA will be joining the Apple iPhone party and be able to match rivals Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint. What's unclear is whether the iPhone will change the competitive landscape or simply be table stakes.

In a statement outlining Deutsche Telekom's 2013 investing plans, the company said (emphasis mine):

The higher investment volume is to be used to roll out the broadband infrastructure in Germany and the United States in particular. In the mobile communications network, this will be done using the state-of-the-art technology LTE. Around EUR 6 billion is earmarked for rolling out the broadband infrastructure in the German fixed network with optical fiber and vectoring between 2013 and 2020. In addition, T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013.

A deal with Apple gives T-Mobile a more direct route to the iPhone.

In short, T-Mobile will be building out its LTE network to attempt to match rivals and the iPhone plays a big role. T-Mobile has tried to lure unlocked iPhones to its network. 

Going forward, Deutsche Telekom said that it expects revenue in Germany to stabilize in 2014 and "record organic growth again." In the U.S., T-Mobile is also projected to growth.

In the U.S., T-Mobile has bolstered its spectrum and network via the acquisition of MetroPCS. That deal is expected to close in the first half of 2013. See: T-Mobile, MetroPCS to merge in $1.5bn deal

Simply put, T-Mobile is more prepared to compete with the iPhone and an LTE network. The problem is that all the major carriers in the U.S. will have the same arsenal. Sprint's investment to get the iPhone has had mixed results, but a recent capital infusion from Softbank will help. AT&T and Verizon continue to land Apple iPhone customers.

What exactly can T-Mobile bring to the table for customers? T-Mobile has preached value, but that equation may change once it sees the data consumption that the iPhone requires.



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