Make no mistake about it – T-Mobile desperately wants to carry the iPhone. Want proof? Look no further than this past February released its earnings from the fourth quarter of 2011. In that quarter, the carrier reported losing over 800,000 subscribers during the last 3 months of 2011. At the time, T-Mobile attributed the mass exodus of subscribers to the fact that it remains iPhone-less.
Sequentially, the decline in branded net contract customers was driven primarily by higher branded contract deactivations as a result of the launch of the iPhone 4S by three nationwide competitors in mid-October.
What’s more, the company also noted in its press release at the time that its contract business was “negatively impacted” by the iPhone 4S release. That T-Mobile would go so far as to make multiple references to a device it doesn’t carry in its earnings statement really speaks volumes.
Of course, some T-Mobile users do have iPhones, though they are of course limited to 2G/Edget data speeds. But just how many T-Mobile customers out there are using iPhones?
Well, in a recent AMA on Reddit, a T-Mobile RF engineer claiming to be “heavily involved” in the company’s upcoming LTE upgrades fielded a host of questions. Though as one might expect, many of them centered on the iPhone.
Q: Can you talk briefly about how much traffic on GERAN you see from iPhone customers? How much of a catch-22 is that situation for moving that PCS spectrum dedicated to it over to WCDMA?
A: We have about a million iphones on our network now. 99.9% of their traffic is 2G/EDGE only right now, so obviously their load is dwarfed by everything else. The iphone is a significant part of the modernization project. Once implemented, iphones will work on U1900 at much higher speeds.