T-Mobile iPhone Confirmed for 2013, Release Date Pending

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Click here for our complete breakdown of the new features on the iPhone 5 or here for our list of November's hottest selling smartphones to see how the iPhone 5 stacked up against the competition.**

(Updated Friday, Dec. 7, 12:45 p.m. ET — see below)

You’d expect an announcement like this to come with a ticker-tape parade – or at least wrapped in a bow considering it’s the holiday season.

But the announcement that T-Mobile USA had established an agreement with Apple to carry the computer giant’s mobile products (think: iPhone, iPad) – revealed by an industry insider last week – came tucked away in a Deutsche Telekom financial report released Thursday.

Several paragraphs in, DT, the parent company of T-Mobile USA, reveals: “In addition, T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together next year."

Although T-Mobile says it boasts 1 million so-called “unlocked" iPhone users on its network, none of those customers got their devices from the carrier, which is the last of the “Big Four" to get it since Apple debut the iconic device in 2007. Verizon Wireless struck a deal with Apple in early 2011, and Sprint followed in October of last year. An unlocked iPhone comes with no carrier subsidy and sets you back a minimum of $650.

(Update: T-Mobile CEO John Legere later said at an investor's conference on Thursday that the company won't subsidize the iPhone, but plans to offer cheaper data plans than its rivals to offset customers' initial out-of-pocket expense.)

Apple confirmed the news for tech site Engadget, and T-Mobile said it would have more details “at a later date."

In predicting the announcement last week, Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig said he expects T-Mobile could sell 4 million iPhones next year, depending, of course, when it becomes available from America’s fourth-largest carrier. There’s no official release date available to pass on just yet.

All of a sudden, T-Mobile is riding high. The carrier recently announced an agreement to buy MetroPCS, the fifth-largest wireless provider. Coupled with this Apple news, 2013 could be a big year for the Magenta network.

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