Thursday, July 22, 2010

Analysts Dash Cold Water on T-Mobile-iPhone Rumors

Talk of Apple blessing T-Mobile as the next distributor of the iPhone is being met with a large dollop of skepticism. "It's in Apple's best interest to partner with the market leader, not the fourth-largest carrier in the country," said Brian Marshall, a senior analyst with Broadpoint AmTech. If Apple were to make such a move, it's unlikely that it would happen in the third quarter, noted Parks Associates' Harry Wang.

Speculation about Apple's plans for ending the agreement that makes AT&T the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S. is heating up again. The guessing game went into full gear on Wednesday when a post on the Cult of Mac blog quoted a well-placed, albeit anonymous, source within T-Mobile as saying there was an 80 percent chance that Apple would strike an iPhone distribution deal with that carrier by Q3 of this year. Making T-Mobile the second carrier to offer the iPhone would make sense from a technical perspective because T-Mobile's network operates on GSM technology, the same as AT&T, which means Apple would not have to make major modifications to the iPhone for T-Mobile. There are, however, a host reasons why an alliance between the companies doesn't make sense.

"I don't buy it, at least at this moment," Harry Wang, director of mobile products research with Parks Associates, told MacNewsWorld. "T-Mobile has craved the iPhone from the beginning, but Apple has stayed away from them. It's possible that T-Mobile has become more aggressive in courting Apple, as the exclusive contract with AT&T is expected to expire soon, but I don't think anything will happen in the third quarter." It's more likely that Apple will start awarding contracts to other vendors in 2011, and if that happens T-Mobile has a chance of landing the iPhone, though Verizon is probably a better bet to get the first non-exclusive deal, Wang added.
AT&T already is planning for the end of its exclusive run with the iPhone, and should manage just fine, Parks' Wang said. "At this point, AT&T has locked in a good portion of the most valuable iPhone customers," he observed. "They may run several aggressive promotions before the end of the year to lock in more customers, but they also have prepared a backup plan, which is to ramp up sales of Android phones."

From the article, "Analysts Dash Cold Water on T-Mobile-iPhone Rumors" by Sidney Hill

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