Despite having no distribution agreement with Apple to carry its smartphone, T-Mobile USA is going on the offensive to combat any competitive disadvantage stemming from the looming release of the next iPhone.
National media are reporting that T-Mobile USA on Wednesday plans to start advertising that iPhone customers no longer under a contract with AT&T can switch to the company. That’s the same day Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone during a special event in San Francisco.
“We expect that consumers will start trading in older devices,” Harry Thomas, T-Mobile’s director of marketing, told The Associated Press. “For every person waiting in line for the next model, a lot of them have to find a secondary market for that older device.”
T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless provider, reportedly hopes to woo iPhone subscribers with its unlimited data plan, which AT&T no longer offers to new customers. T-Mobile is in desperate need of new customers given that its lucrative base of contract subscribers has been shrinking.
Why isn’t T-Mobile also targeting Verizon and Sprint iPhone customers who have moved off their contracts? The AP explained that the Verizon and Sprint iPhone 4 models won’t work on T-Mobile’s network and the iPhone 4S will work but only if it’s been hacked. Plus, Sprint has only been selling the iPhone since October 2011 so it’s likely its iPhone subscribers are still locked into their contracts for more than another year. Verizon Wireless began selling the iPhone in February 2011, four years after AT&T first started carrying the iconic device.
Of the nation’s four largest wireless carriers, T-Mobile USA is the only one without an agreement to sell the iPhone. Still, the company has more than one million iPhones on its network, according to the AP.