T-Mobile gets the iPhone — will Android take a back seat?


Exciting news just hit the wire for those on T-Mobile. Magenta has finally reached an agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone. Deutsche Telekom confirmed that the US carrier would have the phone — and other iOS products, like the iPad –starting in 2013.

“But this is Phandroid,” you exclaim. Yes, that’s true — this news is a tad unrelated — but it does bring up an interesting situation that could impact the landscape of Android devices on T-Mobile’s network. Will T-Mobile change up its device strategy and put all of its eggs in the iPhone basket?

Since T-Mobile was unable to convince Apple that it deserved to carry the extremely popular iPhone after the OEM’s exclusive AT&T contract was up, the carrier took a different approach to the snub. T-Mobile actually embraced it, and launched a few different advertising campaigns promoting its Android line of products more than anything.

Throughout that time, T-Mobile still showed an interest in wanting to support Apple’s devices. They sold accessories, provided network support and even sold micro SIM cards when it didn’t have any micro SIM devices of its own on the market yet. Still, T-Mobile showed a great commitment to Android.

The carrier was more about being that “picture perfect” carrier than anyone else in the states. T-Mobile operated more like carriers in Europe where they give OEMs more freedom. Every device under the sun wasn’t renamed, and T-Mobile didn’t need to drop big bucks and a “refusal to carry” ultimatum to make sure they got an exclusive phone. T-Mobile embraced Android’s openness and encouraged rooting and unlocking devices.

The question, then, is could all of that change once the iPhone launches? At first we were reluctant to consider such a thing might happen, but history shows that a carrier tends to make big changes when they finally get the iPhone. For Verizon and AT&T, their defining moment was killing unlimited data. Sprint decided not to go that particular route, but it did end things like Sprint Premier, long return windows and more curiously around the same time it was set to receive the iPhone.

Fortunately for us, the three biggest US carriers didn’t allow their device portfolio to suffer. Verizon continued to push its DROID line further, Sprint continued to secure the year’s most exciting devices, and while AT&T initially showed hesitation in taking Android seriously it eventually started to build a very respectable portfolio of devices.

For those reasons it’s hard for us to believe T-Mobile will change its device strategy. After all, the iPhone is just one phone, and T-Mobile’s going to need more than one phone to stay competitive in today’s market.

We’d say there’s nothing to worry about for now, so be sure to welcome your iPhone-craving friends with open arms, and tell them to go easy on the data as T-Mobile’s network will surely take on a few extra pounds once people inevitably start migrating from a hodgepodge of other carriers without the iPhone (or from carriers with the iPhone that they just aren’t happy with). PS: if you’re an Apple fan and you happen to need an iOS blog to follow be sure to check out for all the latest and greatest from the land of the bitten fruit!

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Yay! I’m happy for T-Mobile. Maybe like this people will consider it and look at other phones like the N4, and not just the iPhone. I’m a fan of Android and iOS so hopefully the competition will bring out the best in both :)

    1. One cannot simply be a fan of both.

      1. Only the Dark side deals in absolutes!

        1. /thread.


      3. Can I if I like Android and WP8?

      4. *Looks for meme*

  2. I’m not concerned about a reduction of Android devices; I can just pick up an unlocked international device if it bothers me that much.

    I’m much more concerned about the additional strain on TMo’s data network. I think a lot of the draw of TMo is the ability to bring your own phone and get a substantially cheaper rate than with AT&Fee or Verizon…. and hopefully most of the iPhone folks on TMo are already there by way of an unlocked iPhone, thereby reducing the network traffic delta brought on by TMo officially offering the iPhone.

    1. it probably won’t even be that bad. it’s not the same like when AT&T launched it

      1. … or Verizon, or Sprint. This far into the iPhone lifespan, there probably just aren’t large numbers on the sideline waiting for it to become available on a specific carrier, because there really aren’t any other carriers out there who don’t have it, smaller regional carriers excepted.

  3. This makes T-Mobile more relevant against AT&T and Verizon so my only real hope is that this motivates them to keep increasing their network coverage.

  4. I don’t like the iPhone but I think it would be good for business for T-mobile. I’d like to see them become a bigger carrier and cause some pricing competition with Verizon and AT&T. If T-mobile had better coverage where I’m at I would let my Verizon contract run out and get a Nexus 4 with them.

  5. I really hope the introduction of Apple on tmobiles network is not going to slow down my data speeds.

    1. Like it did for sprints?

      1. Truer words have never been spoken before.

        1. I know. Just went I was about to dump Sprint and go unlocked off contract, this happens. Now no major network is safe.

      2. Sprint was already slow to begin with

        1. Only in select areas

        2. it was slow, but it didnt crawl. I used to average 2mbps… now i average 0.4 mbps…

          1. LOL i remember getting that on my g1 in 2g

            with my Mytouch4g slide on 4g i get about 8.5mbps on average

      3. They slowed down their 3G network? Please. It was already Tmo’s capped speeds.

    2. On 1900 yes. On 1700 no.

  6. Boo no iphone

  7. When will the iPhone launch in T-Mobile? Some of my coworkers would be happy that they don’t need to spend $650 for unlocked.

    1. Nobody said they won’t have to spend that in addition to this news T-Mobile is killing classic plans completely and that means value only plans where you pay eip or out right completely for the phone

      1. And who’s to say that their insurance won’t match that of the Galaxy Note 2. LoL!! iPhone insurance is godly unreasonably on Sprint. =.S

        1. Anyone who buys insurance for an iPhone is a TARD. If you break your iPhone at all, you can get it replaced for $229 at the Apple store WITHOUT having insurance. Paying your carrier $10/mo and $199 deductible is stupid.

          Insurance only has the edge if you need theft/lost coverage.

  8. t-mo europe has had them for years.

  9. It doesnt really matter. Android is well on its way of becoming the Windows of the mobile world. The fact that every major US carrier has the iPhone doesnt change the fact that there is still only one “new” iPhone and a few old models at discount. No choice. Android is for those who want choice.

  10. Magenta reached a deal with T-Mobile? About damn time..

  11. I hardly consider the iphone coming to tmobile a threat. It will only help us android fans as people may come from Verizon and AT&T for unlimited and cheaper data. That should help tmobile gain some more revenue to maybe expand and improve coverage.

  12. One of the reasons I didn’t go for an iphone when it came out was it wasn’t on T-mo. At this point, it’s good for T-mo but it reeks of a desperation move on Apple’s part to cover lost ground.

    1. I wish I knew the terms of the agreement before and after because I’m seriously curious

  13. Choice is always good thing. That’s why I’m an Android fan. T-Mobile is my favorite carrier and the iPhone will help keep them as a choice for me by stopping the loss of subscribers. It’s a win for everyone and as an Android fan we should see things that way.

  14. Maybe they can put that extra money into their network and have 4g LTE i when I move to their service, if they keep unlimited data.

  15. t mobile has been supporting the I phone for years. you could call and tell them you were using an I phone and they had a data plan for it, even though apple did not support the fact that it was an unlocked device.

  16. t mobile has been supporting the I phone for years. you could call and tell them you were using an I phone and they had a data plan for it even though apple did not support the fact that it was an unlocked device.

    1. I’ve always respected T-Mobile for that; They knew people wanted to use the iPhone on their network, and accommodated that as best they could. They’ve always been great with unlocked phones in general. Bring your phone, get a cheaper rate on your plan.

  17. What fuckin hypocrites. All they’ve ever done is critisize iphone.

    1. Please take a sit; let me introduce you to Capitalism.

      1. No shit.

    2. Who? Tmo? They had advertisements saying “bring your iPhone to our network it’s better”. When did they talk about the iPhone?

      1. There were plenty of times they said they had no need for the iphone because they had android phones that were better.

        1. Oh my… Well then never mind. LoL!!

          1. Yeah. I mean I’m not against it. The more the merrier. I’m all for choices. I just felt like pointing that out. Haha

  18. T-Mo’s on the way to taking sprints number 3 spot

    1. The only reason they hadn’t before was because of unlimited data. People didn’t realize that Sprint’s 3G was as fast as Tmo’s throttled speeds.

      Anyways, since Tmo has unlimited, I can see that happening.

  19. let’s all take a sit and watch t-mo kick sprint to number 4

  20. I really hope the money the spent on getting the iPhone doesn’t mean that they’ll have to pass on something like the HTC M7.

    Of course, they did get a nice chunk of change from AT&T, so I’ll remain hopeful for now :p

    1. 25% more iPhone ads coming in 2013. Fantastic….

  21. Prepaid only, ßitches

  22. I think this is a good thing. Sure, I’ll never buy an iPhone, but this will help bring more customers to T-mobile. Also, competition is good. T-mobile has been guilty for a while of having an overall sub-par line of Android phones. I think having the iPhone will help them step up the quality of their overall Android line as well.

  23. Whether Android takes a back seat or not I know one thing for sure, T-Mobile’s network is about to get f****’d up.

  24. I told you Quentyn.. If it’s about ios on this site, you post it lol. No hate though.

  25. I don’t think this new info will have any ill effect on android. I’ve always owned both devices myself. when I had android phone I also owned ipod touch. now that I have an iphone 4s. I ordered a nexus seven tablet. I really like windows phone 8. especially the fact that the nokia camera can take awesome pictures in low light. but I doubt I’ll ever buy one. there’s just not enough apps. still this is good news for tmobile. maybe now they wont go out of business

    1. BLASPHEMER! Having the Holy Apple next to that heathen Android! FOR SHAME!
      May Jobs smite thee!

  26. *Insert news about apple*+*insert some off the wall idea on how it will negatively affect android*= Another “quality” article by Quentyn.=p Sorry have to give you a little trouble since you’re always writing these types of articles it seems.

    In all seriousness though I doubt it will have all that much of an impact on phone selection. Most of their user base is made up of android handsets so it has a solid foot in the door already. What may feel the crunch is Windows Phone as the sales numbers haven’t been that great relative to other handsets, but even that I see Microsoft stepping in with its wallet open to continue the push.

    Where it will have an impact though is the network. I don’t get why but when that phone gets on a network all things go to hell unless you’re verizon. Hopefully the frequencies the iphone doesn’t have won’t be impacted, in which case I’ll finally be thankful for 1700/2100.

  27. for the 5 people on tmobile.. won’t matter much.

  28. the tampon is back lol

  29. hope them rotten apples don’t slow down the network.

  30. great, now my daughter (who just got a new Galaxy S Blaze) will want an iPhone…not gonna happen :)

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