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T-Mobile stops selling Xperia Z3 in latest Sony setback

No reasons for the discontinuation have been given but Sony cannot be happy that its flagship handset is down to one major US carrier.

Pick a Sony Xperia Z3, any Sony Xperia Z3. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

T-Mobile has stopped selling Sony's flagship smartphone, leaving Verizon as the sole major US carrier offering the Xperia Z3.

A T-Mobile sales representative tweeted on Sunday that the company is no longer carrying the Xperia Z3. The tweet provided no reason and, so far, neither T-Mobile nor Sony has commented on the product's removal.

The Xperia Z3, which launched late last year, was supposed to be Sony's answer to other popular Android-based devices, including those from Samsung and HTC. The Z3 comes with a 5.2-inch full-HD display, runs on Google's Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and boasts a 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera. Sony has also touted its strong battery life, which can hold up for 16 hours of ongoing talk time.

The Xperia Z3 was roundly celebrated as one of the best Android smartphones on the market. Last year, CNET Reviews awarded the device four-and-a-half stars out of five, saying that the handset is "Sony's most formidable to date with a formidable display and promising features that easily give Android competition from HTC, LG and Samsung a run for their money."

T-Mobile announced in October that it would start selling the Z3. Customers could get their hands on the device for $26.25 a month for 24 months under T-Mobile's equipment installment plan. At the time, T-Mobile celebrated the launch, saying that the device running on its network would create a "powerful combo." T-Mobile also announced that customers who purchased the Z3 could download up to six movies for free to celebrate the launch.

Just six months later, everything has changed.

For Sony, the loss of T-Mobile is just another in a string of setbacks for a mobile division that's in desperate need of repair. Companies like Samsung, Apple and China-based handset makers are the current forces to be reckoned with in the critical mobile market. Sony cannot figure out how to enter that inner circle.

In a statement earlier this year, Sony acknowledged its mobile challenges, described the market as "characterized by high volatility and challenging competitive landscapes" and added that it "will place the highest priority on curtailing risk and securing profits." The company said that it would also only focus its mobile efforts on certain territories and will create a new "business structure capable of securing profits." Sony also hasn't ruled out the possibility of selling the mobile division, though so far it is indicating that it wants to return the unit to profitability.

Those comments, which accompanied claims by Sony that it could post a $4.2 billion profit in its fiscal year ending in March 2018 by focusing on three core segments -- gaming, music, and movies -- came just a month after Sony said that it would slash 1,000 more jobs in its mobile division.

Neither Sony nor T-Mobile immediately responded to a request for comment.