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And cue the iPhone on T-Mobile US in Q3 rumors!

Cult of Mac is claiming an exclusive, highly placed source has told them iPhone 4 is coming to T-Mobile US as soon as Q3:

Talks between Apple and T-Mobile are at an advanced stage, our source says, and it’s 80 percent likely that the iPhone will be coming to T-Mobile in Q3.The source works at T-Mobile but asked not to be quoted directly and to remain anonymous because they aren’t authorized to talk to the press.

T-Mobile is a GSM carrier, like AT&T, but they use a 3G band probably not even supported by iPhone 4's 5-band radio (though rumors suggest Apple might simply have chosen not to list it). If it's not supported, Apple will either have to add that band to future units, or produce a new model just for T-Mo.

So anyone believe this? Anyone at least appreciate the break from the usual Verizon (opens in new tab) rumors?

[Cult of Mac]

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

50 Comments
  • I think it could happen
    Unlocked iPhones already have it though
    But being in the UK I don't really mind so much if it doesn't
    But it would be nice
    Not so sure about separate model
  • I have been saying this for a year. Nobody listens to me, but I'm right.
    And it will be T-Mobile, not Verizon, that sees the iPhone next.
  • On an aside, I've been with T-Mobile for well over a decade. I jailbroke my first iPhone and put it on T-Mobile. The fellow in my local store actually configured my iPhone so I could send and receive SMS messages. They were really willing to support the iPhone, even if unofficially. It was obvious that this would be the course of action.
    Of course, I had to extend my damn contract to get my iPhone 4, so I'm a little hacked.
  • Not happening... too small of a carrier in the US they are 3rd of 4th behind Verizon, AT&T , sprint. Don't think they have the pull.
  • Didn't apple ask to keep things private when the FCC cleared the new iPhone? Like maybe certaiin bands...?
  • Can you imsgine how badly T-Mobiles already ultra-weak network would get crushed by the onslaught of iPhones? Not gonna happen. Yeah, at least it's something beside VZW.
  • Wouldn't make a difference to me. T-Mobile is even worse (service-wise) than ATT. Only thing better than ATT's service imo is Verizon.... and Sprint (but only if under 4G - and we know that's not happening at least until iphone 5)
  • T-Mobile is hands down better than AT&T. Great news if this is true.
  • Any Europeans visiting the States will be able to tell you if 3G works on US T-Mobile or not.
  • I came from a Nexus one on T-Mobile,.
    Im so effing glad to be gone from it.
    living in the DC area, signal was horrible, and the data connection speed was balls.
    I'd rather be on ATT.
  • Breaking news: T-mobile cell tower explosions all over the country!
  • Who cares! Tmobile sucks more than att!
  • I'm surprised that such a groovy blog (and the first iPhone blog I look at every day) would stoop so low as to post something from the hacks at Cult of Mac.... and a RUMOR from them! Ugh.
  • Yahoo! had a "Top 10 Doomed Corporations (or something like that) article a couple of months ago saying that T-Mobile was in danger of bankruptcy.
    I've tried to search for it, but can't find it. I don't actually remember the exact title.
  • If true that would be great. You could enjoy the iPhone at much more reasonable prices. Let's face the iPhone is above the network it's on. People get it despite AT&T not because of it.
  • T-mobiles network is terrible. Look at how people complain about att wait until the see a ton of iphones clogging up t-mo
  • Apple learned a valuable lesson from when they had Canada be the first country to launch the iPhone on multiple carriers , more carriers = $$$$$ that's why now in every country other than USA they're on multiple carriers. Problem with US is that they have a mish mash of CDMA and GSM. once verizon goes LTE it will be easier to produce 1 iPhone for multiple US carriers . As for this rumor of T Mobile if their ATT deal is up then you will see it on T Mobile, you know why ? Because More Carriers = more $$$$$$
  • iphone is on t-mobile in germany already so they already have business. I have to agree tho T-mobile USA sucks ass way more than AT&T so who cares?
  • I think a T-Mo iPhone has more likelyhood than a Verizon iPhone, and they are not on HSPA+.
  • I mean T-Mo is now HSPA+
  • I'd rather preffer T-Mobile than Verizon. In total honesty.
  • Picture this: Ft. Lauderdale, by the beach (one of the places that Tmo has supposedly expanded HSPA+). Both with Bold 9700, his Tmo, mine, AT&T. His is on EDGE, mine full bars of 3G. Tmo SUCKS!! It will surely cave in under the pressure of the iphone.
  • I see T-Mobile before Verizon. Besides the technology differences, T-Mo will bend over easier. They need the iPhone more. As for the network caving, it didn't worry Apple when they chose AT&T. Back then, AT&T was weak too. The networks improve (slowly) once the revenue picks up.
  • Teen Mobile is so cheap! All the little teeny boppers who don't have iPhones like their friends will now have one!! ahhhh! Apple is ganna have to start making a high end phone, and a teeny bopper phone imo. Cause the days of an iPhone meaning status is over.
  • Also, Apple can do T-Mobile just to end the exclusivity complaints. Better to make a small profit than pay lawyers and fines.
  • Fastlane: I saw the same article on Yahoo. If I remember correctly, they said that T-Mobile may wind up getting bought by Sprint.
  • IMO AT&T was dwindling before the iPhone and the iPhone boosted them back up. I think T-Mo might reap the same benefits from people who just don't want to be on AT&T anymore no matter what the "price". I guess only time will tell. T-Mo has the best prices on rate plans so it could easily attract people to their network.
  • Did Yahoo! include themselves in that Top Ten Doomed companies list?
  • @JCal08
    Since when does having any kind of phone give you status?
  • Here's hoping T-Mobile gets it soon. Then us Canadians can get it up here on Wind unlocked and contract free.
  • Hello, I just came from tmobile and when the iPhone 4 came out, my wife and I switched to AT&T. We both had unlocked 3GS before and I know from my experience with tmobiles Internet the iPhone was very sluggish. Not all the time, but most of the time. It wasn't really cheaper either. I was paying $160 for my 2 lines at tmobile and that was with the cheaper data plan for $25. I must say that AT&T's service is not the best but definately WAY better then tmobile in every way. Better reception, actual 3G service, and customer service from what I've seen so far. I do kind of seeing this being right up apples alley but I don't think it will happen ultimately.
  • T-Mobile - Can't see why not. RIM sells modified Blackberry Bold 9700's on T-Mobile to use the 1700 MHz AWS band, so it shouldn't be that difficult to do on the iPhone 4. If so, good news for WIND customers as Invid pointed out! As for the network congestion issues, I wouldn't be too worried, as those plagued AT&T as well.
    Verizon - Don't count on it. Their network is incompatible (at least for now), they're too controlling of the cellphone content (something Apple would never agree on), and they're literally the most anti-iPhone carrier out there. Perhaps Verizon should have taken a cue from Bell and Telus, which was to adopt HSPA back in 2009 and bury CDMA for good! :P
    As for Sprint, not likely. But if they do allow for an LTE network, I can see them adopting it sooner than Verizon for the reasons stated above.
  • Somethings off here. If Apple is going to make the iPhone available, then why not include the band that makes it compatible with Tmobiles 3/4G network from the start? Is Apple really going to release a new iPhone in several months, and include the band rather than include it when they first introduced the iPhone 4 that just came out weeks ago?
  • Who said att was weak before iPhone IMO it was better had them since before Cingular, never had dropped calls. If you have two provider will decongest Att network! I have always thought tmobile will get it first and then verizon.
  • If T-Mobile can't even support it then I don't see it happening
  • This is just an aside but Why are people so self-centered? I keep reading that "AT&T sucks and that t-mobile sucks" but what some of you don't realize is that depending on where you live/work/play any company can have horrible service. Tmobile or AT&T may suck in your opinion but may be the greatest thing smoking for someone that lives in an optimal service area. Keep your opinions about cell service to yourselves. I think that the iPhone would be good for tmobile. Who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people use unlocked iPhones on the edge network on tmobile. Those same people plus millions more will flock to tmobile to get iPhones that they don't have to jailbreak and will now have a choice on if they want to jailbreak or not.
  • @JP you don't want to happen because you just left tmobile. Lol
  • People who sat t-mobile won't get it "because it's too small if a carrier" it's about simplicity, all you have to do to get t-mobile support is add support for their 3G frequency, to add support for Verizon it would take a drastic redesign of the antenna system to support their dinosaur age CDMA network
  • @JIM:
    to add support for Verizon it would take a drastic redesign of the antenna system to support their dinosaur age CDMA network
    And what would be the down side of that?
    But seriously, you do know that 3G is a form of CDMA don't you?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3G
    And you should know that Antennas are designed for the frequency range they are to handle. Whether you talk GSM, or Edge, or French on that antenna does not matter. Its the frequency that matters.
  • @Mr. Anonymous :
    Somethings off here. If Apple is going to make the iPhone available, then why not include the band that makes it compatible with Tmobiles 3/4G network from the start? Is Apple really going to release a new iPhone in several months, and include the band rather than include it when they first introduced the iPhone 4 that just came out weeks ago?
    Any other company in the world would do that.
    But Not Apple.
    You can't sneak a frequency past the FCC. It takes a separate license to handle the T-Mo bands, and that means a separate FCC certification.
  • @icebike
    I agree you cannot sneak a frequency past the FCC. However didn't the main article refer to Apple wanting the FCC to remain quiet about something? Not sneak it past them. Even with me saying that in Mr. Anonymous's defense, I don't believe an iPhone will surface on a new network untill the next iPhone release in June. Apple is a cyclical format company. Plus LTE integration will be the next iPhone build. Not the 3.5g bands that TMobile is peddling. That would include AT&T and Verizon (right around next June to allow time for the LTE buildouts. Sprint is out because of the WiMAX push(unless they ditch WiMAX for LTE). Follow what the world is doing. Canada, Europe, Australia and USA AT&T all gsm for the most part. Tmobile is gsm but the frequency is not widespread. Making custom radio integrated phones for seperate carriers isn't apples style. HTC's? yes. Not Apples. One iPhone to rule them all!! LTE will be the next thing
  • @Tarus - Amen.
    I'm one of those iPhone users on T-Mobile. And I couldn't be happier.
    Yes, I wish I had 3G instead of only Edge. But, my monthly bill is less than $60/month and I rarely ever drop calls. Not a bad trade-off, I contend.
    And, to your point, it really depends on where you live. In fact, I was with Cingular and had AMAZING coverage back then. Then, when the AT&T merger happened, they divested themselves of many cellular towers. (Some because the government required it for the merger and some they thought were just redundant, from what I understand.) My coverage dropped so dramatically that I had to switch carriers. And, since they sold the tower next to me to T-Mobile, me and my Treo 650 (unlocked by AT&T because of the drop in coverage) switched to T-Mobile.
    Now, me and all my neighbors are running iPhones on T-Mobile. It's hillarious. None of us are highly technological - we just love the iPhone and can't use AT&T where we live.
    So, there will be A LOT of us who will be happy when and if the iPhone "officially" comes to T-Mobile.
  • I have said this for a long time, Verizon will be the last US carrier to get an iPhone. They said no the first time around and Steve/Apple have a long memory. It also makes technical sense, it would probably be easy to add the necessary frequency(s) to an iPhone because bot are GSM based. And while LTE and 3.5 are WCDMA based there is a difference, especially where legacy support comes into play. On a small rural or regional roaming partner the phone can use GSM and not CDMA. T-Mobile makes sense, they already have iPhone experience in Europe, the technology is compatible and it's not Verizon. And yes, finally a ________ is getting the iPhone next without Verizon. And, AT&T probably sees T-Mobile as a less threatening competitor than Verizon.
  • Nothing but rumor. Speculation.
  • I'll believe it when I hear El Jobso announce it himself, and/or I see it finally show up in T-Mobile stores (officially).
  • It makes sense w/ both being GSM. TMobile needs the iPhone in order to stay afloat, giving Apple lots of power in the relationship. TMobile is global, and already have familiarity w/ the iPhone overseas. AT&T + TMobileUSA = larger user base than Verizon. TMobile recently set up a support division for "unsupported devices". The tech w/ whom I spoke said they're new & basically dedicated just to do iPhone support. I've been w/ TMo for 10+ years (since it was Voicestream), always w/ great service & support. I currently have an unlocked iPhone 3G, and my only complaint is the lack of 3G support, though EDGE suffices for the vast majority of my needs. Next month, tho, I'm planning to jump ship for AT&T and an iPhone 4. Unless something changes...
  • I think AT&T should just buy up Tmobile and all their users. Solve that problem.
    As for the technical stuff being thrown around: The iPhone uses GSM bands 850/900/1800/1900.. with 850/1900 being the ones used here in North America and the others being used in other parts of the world. They are not however part of Verizons CDMA bands/frequencies/networks. I think people get that confused. Also 3G is not part of CDMA, CDMA can operate @ 3G.. notice the difference in wording. Think of it as a "speed". And Tmobile uses the 1700 band for their 3G UMTS, which the iPhone does not support, which is why people who port their iPhone to Tmobile don't get 3G. But they can use the tmobile 1900 band on edge. (Or most Tmobile phones can roam on ATT's 850 band). Heres the simple transition: 1G(AMPS)---2G(GSM)---2.5G(EDGE)---3G(UMTS aka HSPA aka WCDMA)---3.5G(HSPA+)---4G(LTE)---5G(?). I can tell you this.. LTE is a MASSIVE HUGE increase in speed over 3.5G. The sooner we get it the better. The iPhone is currently at 7.2 Mbits/s and with LTE it would be 326.4 Mbits/s. WHOAH! We've come a long way since 14.4 kb/s modems.
  • i follow t-mobile on twitter and they said that they will be announcing their first HSPA+ phone..maybe iphone?
  • Um for those who don't know... If you have an unlocked iPhone on t-mo YOU CAN'T USE 3G!!!! Only EDGE!!!! Know your facts before you post, just a suggestion.
  • I could only imagine that T-Mobile's small network would collapse under the weight of the iPhone users. But I don't think it would happen as Sprint may buy out T-Mobile next year.