T-Mobile USA soon to carry iPhone, analyst suggests

Chatter is picking up about a deal between Apple and T-Mobile to carry the device in the U.S., Merrill Lynch says.

Composite by Joe Aimonetti/CNET

T-Mobile USA is next on the list to carry Apple's iPhone, according to chatter overheard by Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig.

In a note to investors this morning, relayed by Fortune, Craig said "speculation is heightening" about T-Mobile USA parent company Deutsche Telecom announcing plans to bring Apple's iPhone to its U.S. carrier at an analyst event next week.

T-Mobile is the fourth largest carrier in the U.S. with 33 million customers, about 4 million of which would be expected to buy the device, Craig estimated. The carrier was set to be part of AT&T in a planned merger last year that was later quashed by U.S. regulators.

So far T-Mobile has taken an outsider's approach to wooing current iPhone buyers, selling nano-SIM cards that can be popped into unlocked iPhones for use on its network. That's been a not-so-sexy deal for budget smartphone shoppers, who prefer to buy the $649-plus device at a subsidized price tied to a multi-year contract.

The analyst meetings are scheduled for next Thursday and Friday, which means news of a deal might not come out until the following week.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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