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T-Mobile details plans to support unlocked iPhone on 4G HSPA+

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday September 10, 2012.

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T-Mobile has the unfortunate distinction of being the only major carrier in the U.S. that doesn't offer Apple's iPhone, but the fourth-place carrier has announced plans to promote its support of unlocked iPhones beginning this week. VP of Marketing Suzanne Lowry says that T-Mobile will begin promoting its unofficial iPhone support by adding in-store signage, demo units, and customer assistance for consumers who wish to bring their own iPhone to the carrier.

Beginning September 12, the same date that Apple is expected to launch its next iPhone, T-Mobile retail stores will have iPhone demo units and provide assistance to customers who wish to migrate to T-Mobile. The carrier will offer incentive programs to encourage consumers to switch and save money compared to the cost of AT&T plans.

T-Mobile already supports more than 1 million iPhone devices, but those users are limited to slower speeds because they have not been made to work with T-Mobile's 4G HSPA+ network. That will change as T-Mobile adjusts its 1900 MHz spectrum to enable 4G for its iPhone users. The network has already been adjusted in Las Vegas, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., and more cities will be enabled soon. The next iPhone has not officially been announced, so it's not yet clear if that new device will be compatible on T-Mobile's HSPA+ frequencies as well.

While it may seem unconventional for a carrier to openly promote the use of a phone that it does not carry, this is a necessary step for T-Mobile. The company has languished in fourth place for years, and millions of customers have migrated to AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. T-Mobile has claimed that many of those customers left because they want an iPhone. T-Mobile has been unable to come to terms with Apple to officially support the iPhone, so this may be the only way to stem the tide of customers defecting to its rivals. Customers will have to pay full price to obtain an iPhone, but T-Mobile argues that the savings in its monthly plans will make the purchase worthwhile. It remains to be seen if U.S. consumers who have become familiar with the subsidized model will agree.

source: T-Mobile

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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