Dec 6th, 2012

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!]

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