Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Kevin O'Brien writes that Deutsche Telekom’s announcement to sell its American wireless unit, T-Mobile USA, to AT&T for $39 billion ended a decade-long foray into the American market that was undermined, in part, by the advent of the iPhone (reg. may be required). Until Apple introduced its highly popular touchscreen device in 2007, which went on to become the world’s leading smartphone, Deutsche Telekom had been generating decent sales from its American operation, but after the iPhone went on sale, sold exclusively at first by AT&T in the United States, T-Mobile USA began to lose its most lucrative customers, those on fixed monthly plans, who defected to its larger American rivals — AT&T and Verizon Wireless. “The iPhone effect cannot be underestimated in this decision,” says analyst Theo Kitz. “Without being able to sell the iPhone, T-Mobile was in an unsustainable position and T-Mobile USA became a problem child.” Ironically ATT's acquisition won't help T-Mobile customers get access to the iPhone anytime soon as T-Mobile will remain independent, albeit under AT&T's stewardship, for around a year, and won't offer the iPhone to its customers during that period."