- T-Mobile USA will not be carrying the iPhone this year, an exec says
- The carrier has expressed its desire to carry Apple's phone, he says
- Sprint will reportedly get the iPhone next month
A new iPhone is widely expected to debut next month for the three largest U.S. carriers, but T-Mobile will be left out, an executive for the carrier said at a technology conference on Monday.
T-Mobile has expressed to Apple its desire to carry the iPhone, said Cole Brodman, T-Mobile USA's marketing chief.
"They know we want the phone," he said. "We'll wait for that call."
But the iPhone will not be available for T-Mobile customers in October, he said onstage at the GigaOm Mobilize event. Last week, Brodman reportedly told employees at a meeting, "We are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year."
Brodman issued a "letter to T-Mobile customers" on Tuesday explaining that customers disappointed about the carrier not having the iPhone should take a look at Android devices. He also noted that more than a million T-Mobile customers use iPhones that have been unlocked from AT&T or other international carriers. These cannot connect to T-Mobile's 3G or faster networks.
"Please know that we think the iPhone is a great device and Apple knows that we'd like to add it to our line-up," Brodman wrote. "We are interested in offering all of our customers a no-compromise iPhone experience on our network."
Sprint Nextel is expected to begin selling iPhones in October, along with unlimited data plans, according to a report last month in the Wall Street Journal. The next iPhone will debut in October, said Apple board member Al Gore, and is set to be announced at an event October 4, according to a report from the Journal's AllThingsD website.
AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless are currently the only U.S. operators that sell the iPhone. Sprint would be the only U.S. carrier offering an iPhone with an uncapped data subscription.
T-Mobile also sells unlimited plans. Smartphones account for three-quarters of devices sold by T-Mobile, and 90% of those run Google's Android, an operating system that competes with Apple's, Brodman said on Monday.
The fourth-largest U.S. carrier, T-Mobile has struggled to attract new customers, as well as retain the ones it has since AT&T announced plans in March to acquire the company. AT&T executives have said that T-Mobile's inability to negotiate for popular products like the iPhone and its lack of a viable plan to deploy a high-speed 4G LTE data network can explain its recent problems.
"We believe this transaction will eventually close," Brodman, the marketing exec, said of the proposed AT&T deal that has been challenged by the federal government for being potentially anticompetitive. "In either outcome, I think T-Mobile customers will inevitably win."
T-Mobile also introduced new products at the event on Monday. Two Android phones, Samsung's Galaxy S II and HTC's Amaze 4G, are coming soon. Another device, the Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot, will allow customers to wirelessly get online and share files between devices.