It’s going to be some time before we hear the end of the T-Mobile iPhone stories. In fact, there probably won’t be an end until either Apple and T-Mobile agree a deal, or T-Mobile is liquidated. The former of those two options is being predicted by an analyst over at Merrill Lynch to be happening sooner rather than later. I, however shall remain on the skeptical side.
Now Merrill Lynch’s Scott Craig is out with a note reporting that “speculation is heightening” that Deutsche Telecom (DT) will announce a deal to bring the iPhone to its U.S. subsidiary at next week’s analysts day (12/6-7).
Merrill Lynch’s Craig points out that cutting a deal with the fourth largest U.S. carrier would give Apple access to 98% of the U.S. post-paid market and 75% of the country’s total mobile subscribers.
“While this would be incrementally positive,” he writes, “any financial impact would be limited.” He estimates that a T-Mobile deal would add about 4 million iPhones to his current estimate of 179 million sold in calendar 2013, boosting Apple’s top line (revenue) by 1% and its bottom line (earnings per share) by 2%.
Firstly, analysts generally only think along the lines of marketing and bottom lines. They tend to forget very often that we’re dealing with Apple here. Secondly, analysts are very often wrong. Thirdly, if anyone knew of a T-Mobile and Apple partnership it would be our own Network Director, David Beren. Since he runs the only popular T-Mobile related blog, TmoNews, he’s generally the first to hear of anything concrete going down. I just double-checked with him, and he’s not hearing anything more than the usual whispers and rulers. Fourthly – Tmo’s iPhone compatible network isn’t open in nearly enough markets yet to make it a tempting proposition for either the customer or Apple.