With T-Mobile Chief Operating Officer Jim Alling hinting that the iPhone was too expensive at a recent conference in Barcelona, it seemed like the carrier planned  to continue with its bring-your-own iPhone strategy for its ever-expanding iPhone-compatible 4G network. However, a note from Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig today claimed the carrier could announce a deal to carry the iPhone as early as next week. Fortune has the story:

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%.

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