T-Mobile addressed questions this week about its future plans, specifically about pricing, LTE, and the possibility of ever getting the iPhone. Of the four largest wireless carriers in the US, T-Mobile is the only one still without an iPhone deal with Apple, although plenty of unlocked iPhones run on its network. The carrier now suggests that there is new hope with the iPhone 5.
During an interview with CNET, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray expressed that he believed the carrier was never able to get the iPhone due to the unique AWS band of spectrum it was using. For Apple to offer the iPhone on T-Mobile’s spectrum it would have to specially equip the device. The unlocked iPhones currently running on T-Mobile are only able to run on its much slower 2G Edge network.
Ray says that he has seen Apple’s roadmap for upcoming chipsets and knows that the iPhone 5 chipset will support AWS, meaning that at least this one technical hurdle will go away. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that T-Mobile’s a shoe in for the next iPhone, since the new AWS capability is likely to support 4G LTE networks, which in part run on AWS spectrum.
However, T-Mobile has expressed that it’s not in a hurry to pursue its own 4G LTE network. It will further improve its HPSA+ network, which it calls 4G, and slowly free up space on AWS for future LTE development.