Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 will support T-Mobile’s network, giving the struggling fourth-place carrier an opportunity to gain ground on its competitors.
T-Mobile’s chief technology officer Neville Ray at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week told CNET and several other sources the chipsets in the new iPhone 5 will support the Advanced Wireless Services, or AWS, frequency the carrier uses in its 3G network.
Just because the iPhone 5 is capable of running on T-Mobile, however, doesn’t mean the companies will be able to strike a deal. Apple largely ignored past requests from the carrier to create an AWS-friendly version of the iPhone, and T-Mobile aggressively promotes Android phones it says are as good, or better than, the iPhone.
However, adding the iPhone 5 to its lineup would be a major boost for a network still reeling from its failed merger with AT&T. The company is reforming its business strategy after the lengthy nine-month process resulted in thousands of lost customers due to uncertainty about the carrier’s fate.
In addition to figuring out how to lure returning and new customers, T-Mobile is the only “big four” U.S. carrier that does not offer the highly coveted iPhone due to its HSPA+ network, which Apple’s device does not support.
More than its other challenges, lack of the iPhone is often cited as T-Mobile’s biggest hurdle to overcome, but that obstacle may be temporary.
Acquiring the iPhone is a costly move for a smaller carrier like T-Mobile. The carrier received a hefty $3 billion break-up fee from AT&T, giving it some cash to invest, but third-place rival Sprint will spend $20 billion over the next five years to sell Apple’s top-selling device and create a more data-friendly network. More