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How the iPhone Led To the Sale of T-Mobile 276

Hugh Pickens 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). Deutsche Telekom had been generating decent sales from its American operation, but after the iPhone went on sale, sold exclusively at first for 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, AT&T'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."
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How the iPhone Led To the Sale of T-Mobile

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  • Re:Unlocked? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gabebear ( 251933 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @08:59AM (#35571132) Homepage Journal
    T-Mobile uses 1700Mhz 3G and AT&T uses 1900Mhz. 1900Mhz is more of the world standard but other stuff shares this band with 3G in the USA and only AT&T uses it. They both use 850Mhz for voice and Edge.

    So you can use a iPhone on TMobile, but it will only be Edge. Same goes for a lot of phones bought with TMobile when trying to use them with AT&T or outside the US.
  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @09:21AM (#35571424) Homepage

    I wonder why the prices are so high in the U.S. when it comes to mobile phones. Currently I am on a plan for 12 €/month incl. taxes (~US$17) with 2000 minutes free.

  • The G1? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hellfire ( 86129 ) <.deviladv. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @10:13AM (#35572270) Homepage

    Yes, the story is hyperbole and conjecture, because most tech articles online are based on dramatic declarations rather than facts. However, your comment is also a bit hyperbolic.

    Think about business here. The iPhone wasn't the sole reason but it helped a lot. In terms of subscribers and money, the carriers right now are 1) Verizon, 2) AT&T, 3) Sprint 4) T-Mobile. Verizon has differentiated itself by running on it's reputation of reliability. AT&T differentiated itself by getting the iPhone first. It remains to be seen if AT&T can remain #2 but it has done a good job of locking some people into their service by getting a boost from the iPhone. Sprint and T-Mobile are a distant 3 and 4, because they aren't differentiating themselves well, and because AT&T was stealing their high end subscribers while local smaller outfits like MetroPCS, Cricket, Boost, Amped and others were stealing their low end subscribers. So what you end up with is a smaller T-Mobile and a larger AT&T with lots of cash to start making business deals.

    Now ultimately the reason why T-Mobile is being sold is because AT&T bought them. The article makes it seem like AT&T handed T-Mobile a crushing defeat and Deutch Telekom whimpered for mercey and sold their meager T-Mobile branch. Far from the truth. Deutch Telekom saw a money making opportunity, better than what they were making now. There are probably lots of business reasons surrounding it, and DT saw they were getting their asses kicked since 2007. They could continue to operate and try to come up with something new, but quite simply they cashed out when someone made them an attractive offer. DT saw they weren't as competitive as they wanted to be, so they took their money and went home. They might be able to make more money by investing that $39 in their European wireless market... or just invest it in oil futures or something.

    As for the G1... seriously? Don't make me laugh. T-Mobiles subscriber base has shrunk since 2007. Period, regardless of what technology AT&T and T-Mobile are offering. You can hardly say T-Mobile gained as many customers from the G1 as AT&T did from the iPhone.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @10:37AM (#35572652)

    Because what are we going to do, move to Europe to get a better deal on wireless?

    The have a captive audience here and the carriers have huge warchests to make sure that strong consumer protections aren't enacted.

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