iPhone 4 Could Be Headed for T-Mobile Before Verizon

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An industry analyst is predicting that T-Mobile will be the second U.S. carrier to offer the Apple iPhone 4, not Verizon Wireless as many are expecting.

There have been persistent but unconfirmed reports that Apple is going to end the arrangement that gives AT&T the right to the the exclusive U.S. provider of its smartphones. Information supposedly leaking out of Verizon indicates that this carrier will launch a version of the iPhone 4 this fall.

Apple iPhone 4However, Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros., wrote to investors today his reasons for predicting that T-Mobile will offer Apple’s smartphone first.

First off, T-Mobile has a Wireless Network that uses the GSM/HSPA standards, the same as AT&T, while Verizon uses completely incompatible standards: CDMA/EV-DO. Wu points out that making the current version of the iPhone support T-Mobile’s network would be a trivial task compared to the hardware changes that will be required to develop a Verizon version.

In addition, T-Mobile is the smallest of the “Big Four” U.S. carriers, while Verizon is on top. Apple’s agreement with AT&T generally favors the device maker, but Apple might have problems getting the largest U.S. carrier to agree to its conditions. T-Mobile, on the other hand, will likely be more willing to make concessions. As Wu says, “We are picking up that T-Mobile views the iPhone as key in winning back lost customers and as such could be more likely to agree to Apple’s terms.”

T-Mobile AND Verizon
Wu doesn’t believe that Apple will pick T-Mobile instead of Verizon to offer its smartphone — he thinks the iPhone will be coming to all of the top four carriers in the U.S.: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

According to the Kaufman Bros. analyst, Apple wants to make its products more widely available to head off the rise of Google’s Android OS. “Our sources also indicate that one of the key reasons why Apple is more open to adding U.S. carriers in 2011 is to attack Android more directly,” said Wu.

Sales of models like Verizon’s HTC Droid Incredible have been strong, but many of the people buying them are doing so because they can’t get an iPhone from anywhere but AT&T, a carrier that has something of a bad reputation for wireless service.

T-Mobile Definitely Interested
T-Mobile has 34 million subscribers, compared with Sprint’s 47 million, AT&T’s 87 million, and Verizon’s 93 million. Not only is it well behind its rivals, it’s losing customers.

The carrier is owned by Deutsche Telekom, whose CEO René Obermann said in an interview this spring that he hopes to turn T-Mobile USA around by forging an agreement with Apple.

Happening When?
The Kaufman Bros. analyst says that U.S. carriers besides AT&T could start offering their own versions of the iPhone this fall or in 2011.

AT&T, of course, will launch its version later this month.

Overview of the Apple iPhone 4
Apple’s recently-announced fourth-generation smartphone is going to be a significant upgrade from the current one, starting with its 3.5-inch, 640 x 960 touchscreen, a much higher resolution than any previous iPhone has offered.

It’s going to have a new slimmer design and run iOS 4.0, the latest version of Apple’s operating system, on a 1 GHz Apple A4 processor. This will be the first version of Apple’s mobile OS with support for multitasking.

The iPhone 4 will have a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with a flash and support for recording 720p video at 30 frames per second. In addition, it’s going to include a small front-facing camera for video chatting with an app called FaceTime.

Read a Review of Apple iOS 4.0Not everything is being improved: Apple’s upcoming smartphone will have the same amount of storage capacity as the current one.

The Apple iPhone 4 will be available from AT&T on June 24. It is going to come in two configurations: a version with 16 GB of storage will cost $200 and one with 32 GB will go for $300.

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