T-Mobile sold more tablets on iPad Air launch date than the entirety of last quarter

We haven’t received any official numbers on Apple’s launch of the iPad Air last Friday, but today T-Mobile is offering a little bit of insight into how its first iPad launch went. T-Mobile tells AllThingsD that it sold more tablets on iPad Air launch day last Friday than it managed to during the entire last quarter.

The boost in tablet sales on iPad Air launch day could have been helped along by the carrier’s new offer of 200MB of free data with all tablets, including iPads. There was a bit of confusion around the deal and whether or not customers required a paid plan to access the data, but T-Mobile has since clarified that the offer is available to all customers: Read more

T-Mobile CEO says free 200MB of iPad data has ‘no exceptions/strings attached’ unless already being a T-Mobile customer is considered a string

Update: In a back and forth with a reporter over Twitter last night (below), Legere confirmed what many of us had found out through the website and online: You need to be a T-Mobile customer to get the 200mb of free data.

Back on the announcement date of the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, many potential iPad with Cellular users were excited to see that “un-carrier” T-Mobile USA would be offering 200MB of data per month at no charge.

However, several readers and tipsters today noted that when trying to purchase a T-Mobile-optimized iPad Air, the carrier would actually charge $10 per month for that 200MB of data. The exception was apparently for subscribers to voice smartphone plans on T-Mobile; these customers would be credited back the $10 of data each month.

Now, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has responded to this mixup by noting that there are “no strings attached.” He calls the charges an “executional mistake” and notes that the situation will be corrected…

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iPhone and new approaches to contracts help T-Mobile US add 1.1M customers

T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert speaks at a press conference in New York

T-Mobile US’s customer base jumped by 1.1 million in its financial Q2, with the iPhone – offered by the carrier for the first time back in April – accounting for 29 percent of sales.

The company had lost over 200,000 customers in the same quarter the previous year. The company’s turnaround is being attributed to a combination of its new approaches to contracts – Uncarrier (whose introduction was not without controversy) and Jump – and the decision to add the iPhone 5 to its handset range. Earlier research by CIRP had suggested that 300-400,000 customers would have left the carrier if it hadn’t introduced the iPhone …  Read more

T-Mobile/Solavei roll out iPhone-compatible HSPA+ to 14 new metro areas, as Verizon LTE arrives in 29 markets

T-Mobile-iPhone

T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog today that 14 new metro areas are getting access to its iPhone-compatible HSPA+ 4G network. The updates are hitting areas such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, Texas, Florida, and San Antonio, following rollouts to Chicago, California, and elsewhere earlier this month.

The carrier also said enhancements to its network in additional areas like Los Angeles and San Diego have already started. This means that customers on Solavei, the new, no-contract T-Mobile MVNO offering of $49 per month unlimited, will also get coverage for unlocked iPhones in the new areas. A full list is below:

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T-Mobile rolls out iPhone-compatible HSPA+ to Chicago, Reno, Sacramento, Fresno, Southern Calif., now accessible to 100 million people

T-Mobile-iPhoneOn Monday, we told you that T-Mobile was enhancing its 4G network in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis to provide access to its iPhone-compatible 1900 MHz spectrum for more users. Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile USA Neville Ray announced more enhancements to the network today, including the roll out of more iPhone-compatible 4G HSPA+ to five major metro areas, such as: Chicago; Reno, Nev.; and Fresno, Sacramento and Southern Calif.

A spokesperson confirmed to us that the launch of the enhanced network in these new areas brings T-Mobile’s total covered for iPhone compatible 1900 MHz PCS spectrum to 100 million people.

Internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on our 1900 MHz network recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network. Savings based on comparison of T-Mobile $69.99/month Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan against AT&T Unlimited Talk, Text, and 3GB Smartphone Data plan.

T-Mobile also said more enhancements to the network are on the way to “Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, the New York metro area, Philadelphia, and San Diego,” with many customers already experiencing unlocked iPhone “speed sightings.”

A full list of areas included in the  rollout is below:

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T-Mobile USA: ‘Our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone’

T-Mobile USA executives are talking reinvigorated challenger strategy and the carrier’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray (whom we interviewed last month) just confirmed that its 4G network, being deployed in 2013, “will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone.” He also warned T-Mobile “will continue to need more AWS spectrum to support a deeper LTE rollout.” Luckily, the carrier walked away from that failed AT&T merger with not only $3 billion but also some AWS spectrum.

Basically, in addition to its 1700MHz AWS band, the carrier will also use the 1900MHz band for HSPA+. This will result in a faster 84MBps HSPA+ service and iPhone compatibility because Apple’s handset utilizes the more common 1900MHz frequency band. Following the network reconfiguration, users of unlocked iPhones should be able to enjoy true 3G HSPA+ speeds on T-Mobile USA’s network.

Chief Executive Officer and President Philipp Humm stressed he wants his company known for “4G services, 4G devices and a great 4G network.” T-Mobile will re-launch its brand at some point and reposition as the Best Value in Wireless. As for the prospect of landing the iPhone this year, Humm said there is “nothing new to report,” and he argued such a deal would require “right terms” —a notion shared by U.S. Cellular.

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T-Mobile USA blames iPhone 4S for huge customer defections in holiday quarter, says 4G LTE coming in 2013

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.

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AT&T CEO: Recent price jacks due to AT&T’s attempt to monopolize GSM in US

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…

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T-Mobile will use resources and spectrum gained from failed AT&T merger to become iPhone compatible

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…

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iPhone 4S can reportedly be unlocked without any hardware or software changes

Update: This only works until the TMSI is refreshed which means it won’t last very long

Michael Capozzi (via Chronic) has apparently discovered how to unlock the iPhone 4S (reportedly AT&T version only) without any software or hardware tweaking. The unlock will assist you in using your iPhone 4S on T-Mobile’s network as long as you have a T-Mobile SIM card. Before you get started, go ahead and cut down your T-Mobile SIM card to match your AT&T SIM card’s size. Go ahead and give the following directions a try:

  1. Insert original carrier AT&T SIM card
  2. Dial 611 for AT&T customer service hotline and drop the call
  3. Turn on Airplane Mode
  4. Take out AT&T SIM card
  5. Insert T-Mobile SIM card

Update: the unlock also works with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, and will need to be done again if you reset your device. Continue after the break..

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China Mobile is the T-Mobile of the East with 10 million iPhone users, an incompatible high speed network and no contract

China Mobile doesn’t officially offer the iPhone yet. But it is carrying 10 Million iPhones on its network according to Reuters.

“We have not yet got agreement with Apple,” Wang said on the fringes of the ITU World telecoms fair in Geneva. “Apple promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE. We are discussing the details.”

There had been rumors that Apple would offer a TL-LTE version of the iPhone 4S earlier this year with China Mobile going as far as saying:

China Mobile and Apple hope to find a solution for close collaboration. We discussed this issue with Apple. We hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple.

It appears that positive answer wasn’t for this round of devices, though the CDMA Verizon iPhone arrived off schedule in January. TD-LTE will require some separate chips which could be hard to fit inside the iPhone 4S’s enclosure. Apple however has to look longingly at that 600 million+ subscriber base, however.

While T-Mobile USA is on the opposite end of the subscriber spectrum (China Mobile has around the same amount of subscribers as the populations of Europe and the US combined), T-Mobile is the #4 carrier in the US in the midst of AT&T attempting to swallow it.

But they both don’t officially offer the iPhone, yet have a significant number of iPhones floating around on their network. Both offer a different type of high speed 4G network that stock iPhone 4Ses can’t take advantage of. Both networks do offer EDGE/GSM speeds however which some may find valuable tied with reduced fees or better coverage. T-Mobile told us earlier this year that they had over a million iPhones on their network, a figure that is likely to go up with Apple sneakily offering iPhones 4S unlocked at launch.

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