Much like in the weeks leading up to the iPhone 4S launch in early October 2011, European carriers are preparing for the expected Sept. 12 introduction of the new iPhone with pre-order tickets now available through various carriers. As noted by reports from German website iPhone-ticker.de, Deutsche Telekom will offer pre-order tickets to interested customers through its distribution partners starting today. The tickets will offer a first-come, first-serve basis for the new iPhone with express delivery of the device to ticket holders on the first available day. Carriers are clearly preparing for the launch of Apple’s next-gen iPhone. Not that we need additional verification, as the most recent reports once again confirm a Sept. 12 unveiling and add the device could actually be available for pre-order on the same day. Last year, Vodafone and other carriers quickly followed Deutsche Telekom by offering iPhone pre-order tickets.
The nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier T-Mobile USA just reported it lost 802,000 contract customers during the holiday quarter, causing revenues to dip 3.3-percent to $20.6 billion. For comparison, the company reported 186,000 net contract customer losses in the third quarter of 2011 and 251,000 in the year-ago quarter. The Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier put the blame for such a huge decline in customers and mindshare on Apple’s iPhone 4S that bypassed T-Mobile to launch last October on AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and regional carriers C Spire Wireless and Claro Puerto Rico, the largest Puerto Rican telecommunications services company.
A statement from Deutsche Telekom said:
For T-Mobile USA, the past year was characterized by significant challenges, particularly in the fourth quarter, following the market launch of the new Apple iPhone model by the three major national competitors in October. [...] However, not carrying the iPhone led to a significant increase in contract deactivations in the fourth quarter of 2011. [...] 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.
The Bellevue, Wash.-headquartered firm contemplated for far too long whether to invest big bucks into 4G LTE deployment, and it clung to a hopeful merger with AT&T to solve its capital investment issues. With that deal off the table now, the company is promising to launch 4G LTE service sometime next year, tapping $1.4 billion of its own investment, re-farmed frequencies, and extra spectrum acquired from AT&T.
AT&T has a grudge with the Federal Communications Commission, and during the mobile carrier’s quarterly earnings call today, CEO Randall Stephenson criticized the FCC over spectrum availability and the bombed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, with him further claiming that AT&T’s spectrum crux could cause jacked prices against its highest data users.
The American Telephone and Telegraph Company, founded in 1876, once held a monopoly on wired phone service in the United States, but the U.S. Department of Justice broke up Alexander Graham Bell’s company into seven “Baby Bells” with an antitrust lawsuit that turned into a settlement in 1982.
Since then, the company has slowly reassembled. Six of those seven “Baby Bells” merged into two single companies: AT&T, Inc., (Ameritech, BellSouth, Pacific Telesis, and Southwestern Bell) and Verizon Communications, Inc., (NYNEX and Bell Atlantic). The acquisition of the fourth largest wireless service provider in the U.S., Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA, would have poised AT&T to gain a monopoly once again, but this time through its 3G GSM service in the U.S., while garnering the No. 1 spot in the U.S. wireless market. However, the FCC stepped in this time and dashed the company’s monopolizing hopes.
The FCC requested a formal administrative hearing into AT&T’s proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA last fall, subsequently causing the U.S. carrier to withdraw the pending approval applications in November 2011. The decision rolled into a killed bid and garnered a $4 billion pretax charge on AT&T’s Q4 2011 accountancy sheet that includes a $3 billion default payment due to Deutsche Telekom over the deal’s non-completion and an additional $1 billion in spectrum value that AT&T would have to forgo.
AT&T CEO Stephenson released his frustrations concerning the debacle at the company’s Q4 2011 financial conference call today. He set his sights on the FCC and lambasted the agency while decrying it of choosing “winners” and “losers” in regards to approving and regulating deals…
Update: Reports that T-Mobile knows Apple’s chipset roadmap are false I’ve confirmed with T-Mobile’s PR department. Ray only said that Apple could choose to use Chips that are AWS compatible, which is obvious.
I had a few minutes this evening between Colbie Cailat songs at T-Mobile’s CES 2012 party to talk to CTO Neville Ray on what the future holds for T-Mobile since the AT&T merger is off. T-Mobile walked away with not only $3 billion but also some AWS spectrum from AT&T.
First, Ray is excited. He talked like someone who has been imprisoned by the merger over the past year, unable to make any long term moves. T-Mobile is still evaluating its long-term options (like LTE) but there is a buzz in the air now. While the parent company Deutsch Telekom gets the $3 billion payoff from AT&T, it seems that there will be big investment over the next few years in the T-Mobile USA subsidy.
On Dec. 19, T-Mobile’s official AT&T breakup release stated what —besides the $3 billion— T-Mobile would get:
As part of the break-up fee, T-Mobile USA will receive a large package of AWS mobile spectrum in 128 Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), including 12 of the top 20 markets (Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle).
The UMTS roaming agreement for the U.S. in T-Mobile USA’s favor has a term of over seven years and will allow the company to improve its footprint significantly among the U.S. population and offer its customers better broadband coverage for mobile communications services in the future. Population coverage will increase from 230 million potential customers at present to 280 million. As a result of the agreement with AT&T, coverage will be extended to many regions of the U.S. in which T-Mobile USA previously had neither its own high-speed mobile communications network nor the associated roaming agreements.
That spectrum will allow T-Mobile to light up HSPA+ radio frequency used by the iPhone’s 3G.
I asked Ray about the reports that claimed T-Mobile networks in the Northwest were already broadcasting 1900 MHz HSPA+.
Nevada, parts of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest are also seeing some pockets of 1900MHz spectrum refarming for HSPA+. There are other parts of the country T-Mobile can refarm the 1900MHz spectrum but, the focus is on the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Utah and California for right now from what we’re told. We should emphasize and emphasize greatly that this post does not mean that all of the aforementioned areas are seeing this refarmed spectrum, just pockets inside those areas.
Ray said those networks were not officially lit up (perhaps some tower testing or AT&T roaming confusion happened).
Nevertheless, there is good news for those who want to use an iPhone on T-Mobile’s 3G network…
TmoNews thinks it scooped a possible evidence that Apple will be announcing its next iPhone in about two weeks time. The site cites “a huge number of emails” they received, which apparently mention “that T-Mobile has called an “All Hands Day” meeting for September 24th for unknown reasons”. September 24 is a Saturday, ruling out the possibility of an Apple media event that day. It could be also just T-Mobile prepping for another product arrival, such as the Galaxy S II, or some non-Apple related marketing and sales initiative. Also, Boy Genius Report offers that the memo actually refers to a high-volume day, which does not compute since iPhone 5 is not expected to hit stores before October.
On the other hand, 9to5Mac heard that Apple could begin accepting pre-orders for the next iPhone as early as Friday, September 30. If T-Mobile USA gets the handset, as rumored, they would want to brief employees at least a week before pre-orders start. And T-Mobile holding a meeting on Saturday, September 24, could mean an Apple media event earlier that week, in which case invites should be sent out sometime in the next week or so. Read more
We’ve received a word from several sources that GameStop will soon begin offering the entire lineup of Apple’s popular iOS mobile devices such as iPhones, iPods and iPads at their stores. The announcement was made to dealers at an annual trade show in Las Vegas this past week. Also, as of this week, GameStop began accepting iOS device trade-ins for in-store credits. From the sound of it, our take is GameStop is first doing trade-ins/used products before phasing in new ones, perhaps as Apple launches iPhone 5 in October (Deutsche Telekom in Germany is now quietly accepting pre-orders).