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Thursday, December 6, 2012

T-Mobile Will Sell Apple Devices in 2013

T-Mobile USA, the last major American carrier without an Apple product available for its customers, announced on Thursday that it had entered a partnership with Apple to begin selling Apple products to its customers next year.

Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile USA, announced the agreement in a press release, saying it would be making significant investments in its broadband infrastructure in the United States to support fourth-generation wireless speeds, also known as LTE. The latest iPhone works over such networks.

The company, however, did not give specifics about which devices would be sold or when customers could expect to see them on store shelves - perhaps because they are future models of Apple products that the company has not yet announced, or because T-Mobile USA is not sure when its network upgrades will be completed.

David Henderso n, a spokesman for T-Mobile USA, said that additional details “would be made available at a later date.”

Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said that bringing the iPhone to its network is crucial for T-Mobile to stay competitive with rival carriers in the United States. He said that its prolonged delay was likely because of the network's relative immaturity compared to its peers. But he did not expect that adding bandwidth-intensive devices to T-Mobile would cause it to have the same reliability and connectivity issues that AT&T did when it first introduced the iPhone. He expected T-Mobile to sell Apple devices at roughly the same pace as Sprint, which sells between a million and two million Apple devices each quarter, or roughly six million by the end of 2012. By comparison, AT&T is expected to sell around 20 million Apple devices by the end of the year.

He also said it was “highly unlikely” that Apple would debut a device specific to T-Mobile. The deal is really about Apple “checking off carriers it needs to add to its list,” he said. “But the real holy grail for Apple is China Mobile.”