T-Mobile CEO says frequency band issue is 'key reason' for lack of iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said Tuesday that a frequency band incompatibility issue is the "key reason" keeping the carrier from offering the iPhone, noting that it will be resolved with future chipsets, potentially paving the way for Apple's handset to arrive on its network.



Humm said in an interview with AllThingsD that T-Mobile's unique frequency bands are the main factor preventing it from bringing the iPhone to its customers.



“The key reason we didn’t have the iPhone in the past is we are on different band than globally the market was,” he said. “That is something which will change over time. Chipsets are also evolving to be able to allow for more bands.”



The executive also reiterated that the decision is ultimately up to Apple. T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman had said last fall that the company would "love to have" the iPhone, noting that "the ball is in Apple's court."



Though some unlocked iPhone users on T-Mobile benefitted from a network adjustment last month that allowed them to take advantage of 3G speeds from the carrier, the scenario is said to be extremely rare. Unlocked GSM iPhones are compatible with T-Mobile's voice network, but are generally unable to make use of 3G functionality.



The fourth largest carrier in the U.S. is struggling to regroup after AT&T withdrew its bid last month to acquire the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary.



Federal regulators had opposed the acquisition on the grounds that AT&T hadn't provided sufficient evidence of benefits that would outweigh the removal of a competitor from the U.S. wireless market. AT&T paid T-Mobile a $4 billion break-up fee as a result of the failed $39 billion deal, which was first announced last March.



Humm confirmed on Tuesday that there is no "second AT&T deal" in the wings for the company, though he did note that the cash, spectrum and data-roaming agreement it has received from AT&T has been a boon. Moving forward, the CEO said T-Mobile will resume its advertising campaign that is critical of its competitors, positioning itself as a consumer-friendly network.



In the wake of the abortive merger, T-Mobile has found itself on the outside after rivals Verizon and Sprint began offering Apple's iPhone last year.



Verizon recently revealed that it had sold 4.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2011, doubling its sales from the previous quarter. By comparison, T-Mobile reported using 3G/4G smartphones in the third quarter of 2011.



T-Mobile could find itself falling even further behind as its larger competitors make the transition to 4G LTE. For the time being, T-Mobile plans to focus on its HSPA+ network, which it advertises as "4G," before eventually moving to LTE.



“We’re not against LTE,” Humm said. “We will over time evolve to LTE. We just don’t see a need to move there very fast.”



Recent reports have suggested that Apple could release an LTE-compatible iPhone later this year. The company has said it is waiting for LTE chipsets to improve before implementing them in its handsets.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    “We’re not against LTE,” Humm said. “We will over time evolve to LTE. We just don’t see a need to move there very fast.”



    Liar.



    T-Mobile USA is not making a push into 4G LTE because it was too cheap/poor to buy any of the spectrum. AT&T finally bought some of their from Qualcomm (who abandoned their idea of becoming a mobile operator). Sprint has grimly accepted the fact that WiMax has lost and is in the expensive process of transitioning to LTE for 4G after having sunk it so much capital into ClearWire's WiMax infrastructure.



    T-Mobile USA is twiddling its thumbs, waiting for AT&T to kick free some excess spectrum frequency so it can proceed with LTE deployment, rather than trying to reharvest existing spectrum in heavily oversubscribed key markets (which doesn't help anyone outside of those market). In the mean time, T-Mo USA is giving up marketshare, seeing churn increase, and watching their margins continue to erode.



    T-Mobile USA can't move fast because it has nowhere to go.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    I'm astounihes how long the US mrkelace is going to continue to actually believe these two Ben-counters about iPhones.... This game is all about flagelant egos - tht's it.... T-Mumble sucks , they know it, and are actual trying to be your local friendly third tier player and they like... The ghetto buner of Horne...



    These are pathetic people. Apple should just buy them and dismiss the whole Lot of them to the ghetto.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said Tuesday that a frequency band incompatibility issue is the "key reason" keeping the carrier from offering the iPhone, noting that it will be resolved with future chipsets, potentially paving the way for Apple's handset to arrive on its network.



    Yet another lie.



    The current Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 4S supports all 5 bands. Apple chose to only have the iPhone support 4 bands specifically leaving out T-Mobile US 3G support.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bwinski View Post


    I'm astounihes how long the US mrkelace is going to continue to actually believe these two Ben-counters about iPhones.... This game is all about flagelant egos - tht's it.... T-Mumble sucks , they know it, and are actual trying to be your local friendly third tier player and they like... The ghetto buner of Horne...



    These are pathetic people. Apple should just buy them and dismiss the whole Lot of them to the ghetto.



    Can someone translate this for me?
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Well DUH - I mean WHO would have dreamed that T-Mobile's wacko 1700 MHz frequency for 3G was the problem?? I NEVER would have guessed...
  • Reply 6 of 35
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,744member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post


    Yet another lie.



    The current Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 4S supports all 5 bands. Apple chose to only have the iPhone support 4 bands specifically leaving out T-Mobile US 3G support.



    As I said, I think Apple held off on releasing a T-Mobile compatible iPhone because somebody who works at a company whose name starts with A and ends with T whispered something about a planned acquisition into Steve Jobs' ear.



    Now, the non-conspiratorially minded would say, well of course you hold off because you don't want to spend money developing and getting regulatory approval for a phone meant for a carrier that's about to disappear.



    On the other hand, it's more interesting to say that it's just Apple & AT&T doing some quid in anticipation of some future quo. And now that the acquisition has crashed and burned, than Apple is free of any obligations and can now move ahead with a T-Mobile iPhone.
  • Reply 7 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post


    Yet another lie.



    The current Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 4S supports all 5 bands. Apple chose to only have the iPhone support 4 bands specifically leaving out T-Mobile US 3G support.



    Does that mean that all it would take for Apple to allow T-Mobile is a simple iPhone 4S (4?, 3GS?, ...) firmware upgrade?
  • Reply 8 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post


    Does that mean that all it would take for Apple to allow T-Mobile is a simple iPhone 4S (4?, 3GS?, ...) firmware upgrade?



    Probably, but it would also require a commitment by T-Mobile to purchase X number of iPhones over the next Y number of years, as Sprint was required to do to join the iPhone party.



    It's just my opinion, but this whole situation sounds like T-Mobile is trying to get a different deal that other US carriers made to get the iPhone on their network. They want the phone, they just don't want to pay for it. Since they've got a little additional scratch from the failed AT&T merger, doing an deal with Apple would be a good use for some of that money.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post


    Probably, but it would also require a commitment by T-Mobile to purchase X number of iPhones over the next Y number of years, as Sprint was required to do to join the iPhone party.



    It's just my opinion, but this whole situation sounds like T-Mobile is trying to get a different deal that other US carriers made to get the iPhone on their network. They want the phone, they just don't want to pay for it. Since they've got a little additional scratch from the failed AT&T merger, doing an deal with Apple would be a good use for some of that money.



    Doesn't T-M get 4 billion $ from this failed merger?
  • Reply 10 of 35
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    Liar.



    T-Mobile USA is not making a push into 4G LTE because it was too cheap/poor to buy any of the spectrum. AT&T finally bought some of their from Qualcomm (who abandoned their idea of becoming a mobile operator). Sprint has grimly accepted the fact that WiMax has lost and is in the expensive process of transitioning to LTE for 4G after having sunk it so much capital into ClearWire's WiMax infrastructure.



    T-Mobile USA is twiddling its thumbs, waiting for AT&T to kick free some excess spectrum frequency so it can proceed with LTE deployment, rather than trying to reharvest existing spectrum in heavily oversubscribed key markets (which doesn't help anyone outside of those market). In the mean time, T-Mo USA is giving up marketshare, seeing churn increase, and watching their margins continue to erode.



    T-Mobile USA can't move fast because it has nowhere to go.



    Yup, Duhhh T-Morrbile, this is what happens when you buy dumbass frequencies and don't invest in the right one.



    As for WiMax though, I really am not sure how or why it "lost". Maybe someone can enlighten me.



    I've spoken with two ex-ClearWire execs that are now involved in a 4G WiMax data/voice rollout in Malaysia. It really isn't too shabby. Some of the products are similar to Vivid Wireless in Australia, but the coverage for Vivid is not great. In Malaysia because a conglomerate which owns land, property, railroads and yada yada yada owns this 4G telco, the outdoor and in-building *data* coverage by now trounces the 3G providers (which are sitting on their butts riding on iPhone and Samsung). Voice coverage used to be spotty but has improved. They have about 400,000 subscribers out of a population of 30million, and they've only been in operation for a year. The other "big three" telcos in Malaysia have been around for decades.



    However, again, does anyone know what is the deal with WiMax in Australia? It pales in comparison to Telstra NexG (3G on 850mhz etc).



    Why is no one else around the world deploying converged data/voice WiMax in any significant way?



    I know I've asked it many times, and people say, well LTE is fantastic, but then also posters have said, well, if you have HS-something-A 3G+ etc etc it's fine... And it is, where I am within 5km of CBD you can get 10mbit down on iPhone 4S tethering. But only on Telstra NexG, and at my apartment 10km from the CBD, only Telstra NexG actually has proper in-building coverage, everyone else in the building on Vodafone and Optus have to walk to the courtyard to get coverage.



    And we still haven't seen any LTE phones besides HTC that are of any major sigficance, no? What's going on? Is it indeed a case of waiting for the baseband chipsets? Or telcos around the world now being able to squeeze the most out of 3G? Everyone waiting for Apple to release an LTE iPhone?
  • Reply 11 of 35
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkyMark7 View Post


    Well DUH - I mean WHO would have dreamed that T-Mobile's wacko 1700 MHz frequency for 3G was the problem?? I NEVER would have guessed...



    Darnit you pipped me to the post. "Wacko" frequency. Nice.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post


    Probably, but it would also require a commitment by T-Mobile to purchase X number of iPhones over the next Y number of years, as Sprint was required to do to join the iPhone party.



    It's just my opinion, but this whole situation sounds like T-Mobile is trying to get a different deal that other US carriers made to get the iPhone on their network. They want the phone, they just don't want to pay for it. Since they've got a little additional scratch from the failed AT&T merger, doing an deal with Apple would be a good use for some of that money.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post


    Yet another lie.



    The current Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 4S supports all 5 bands. Apple chose to only have the iPhone support 4 bands specifically leaving out T-Mobile US 3G support.



    For the past several years till today I never understood T-Mobile's "play" in the US market. I mean, they are massive in Europe. In the US, they've been as frigid as a bookworm on prom night.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bwinski View Post


    I'm astounihes how long the US mrkelace is going to continue to actually believe these two Ben-counters about iPhones.... This game is all about flagelant egos - tht's it.... T-Mumble sucks , they know it, and are actual trying to be your local friendly third tier player and they like... The ghetto buner of Horne...



    These are pathetic people. Apple should just buy them and dismiss the whole Lot of them to the ghetto.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post


    Can someone translate this for me?



    I'll try. "I'm astonished at how long the US marketplace is going to believe the analysts that iPhones drive subscribers. This game is all about [something] egos. T-Mobile sucks, and they know it, they're just trying to get by being a side player. The [mumble mumble]... Apple should buy T-Mobile [or the analysts, not sure what he's referring to] and drag them all to the Trash."
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    Liar.



    T-Mobile USA is not making a push into 4G LTE because it was too cheap/poor to buy any of the spectrum. AT&T finally bought some of their from Qualcomm (who abandoned their idea of becoming a mobile operator). Sprint has grimly accepted the fact that WiMax has lost and is in the expensive process of transitioning to LTE for 4G after having sunk it so much capital into ClearWire's WiMax infrastructure.



    T-Mobile USA is twiddling its thumbs, waiting for AT&T to kick free some excess spectrum frequency so it can proceed with LTE deployment, rather than trying to reharvest existing spectrum in heavily oversubscribed key markets (which doesn't help anyone outside of those market). In the mean time, T-Mo USA is giving up marketshare, seeing churn increase, and watching their margins continue to erode.



    T-Mobile USA can't move fast because it has nowhere to go.



    Agreed. T-Mobile bragged when they spent $10+ Billion in an earlier spectrum grab and that really turned out to be a very expensive purchase. They are dead weight to their parent company.
  • Reply 14 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    Doesn't T-M get 4 billion $ from this failed merger?



    I believe it was just over $2 billion, yet there are circumstances more than just a a failed merger on the face of it for them to qualify for the funds.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    diddydiddy Posts: 282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post


    Does that mean that all it would take for Apple to allow T-Mobile is a simple iPhone 4S (4?, 3GS?, ...) firmware upgrade?



    That would just enable physical support - Apple would still have to optimize the device and test it - it wouldn?t work too well otherwise. It would probably be an addition cost for apple - they likely got a break on the chipset from disabling T-mobile frequencies.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post


    Probably, but it would also require a commitment by T-Mobile to purchase X number of iPhones over the next Y number of years, as Sprint was required to do to join the iPhone party.



    It's just my opinion, but this whole situation sounds like T-Mobile is trying to get a different deal that other US carriers made to get the iPhone on their network. They want the phone, they just don't want to pay for it. Since they've got a little additional scratch from the failed AT&T merger, doing an deal with Apple would be a good use for some of that money.



    I thought the same thing until I saw that US Cellular plans on having the iPhone, too. there's no way US Cellular can commit to the same number of phones that T-Mobile could, let alone Sprint.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Why is no one else around the world deploying converged data/voice WiMax in any significant way?



    ...



    Everyone waiting for Apple to release an LTE iPhone?



    Two factors are in play. #1 Wimax was designed for backhaul originally. It's too inefficient to be used for customer terminals in the same way Cable companies don't give everyone the maximum bandwidth and then force hundreds of customers to share the same 100mbit pipe in the neighborhood. Using Wimax for mobile devices is rather silly since they get allocated bandwidth they can't possibly use. Wimax is useful in countries like Canada and Australia where there may be miles between towers, and running backhaul to every tower is not cost effective.



    LTE is the better technology (by virtue of everyone using it and it being ALL-IP,) don't listen to the business pundits about WiMax. They don't understand the technology, just hype. WiMax is not a "cell phone" technology. It's more like a "cable/dsl modem" replacement and doesn't have all the "phone" legacy baggage.





    The other reason, is that existing GSM carriers (or worse, CDMA2000 carriers) only have limited spectrum. Look at the balkanized state of US cellular coverage already.



    What we've seen with Apple, is that they had the balls to not jump into every stupid carrier-specific flavor of a standard. They picked the most standard version (GSM quad-band) and went from there. The Verizon/Sprint Model of the iPhone 4 uses a MDM6600, which supports GSM. It's in fact this is almost same chip used in the iPhone 4S (MDM6610.) Both chips support 2100Mhz in UMTS, but not 1700Mhz(AWS band) used at T-mobile.



    Some speculation (I haven't seen any documented proof of it working) is that the chip supports 1700Mhz, but doesn't have the required radio firmware to access it. In theory it's just a firmware update that can enable it. Radio firmware is notoriously "secret" (or so I hear) because government regulators don't want people broadcasting on frequencies they don't have licence to use. Just look at all the Patent lawsuits.
  • Reply 18 of 35
    Considering the fact that AT&T will be using AWS for part of its 4G LTE network, there's a very good chance that Apple is finally convinced to put in support for 1700Mhz in their next iPhone.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkyMark7 View Post


    Well DUH - I mean WHO would have dreamed that T-Mobile's wacko 1700 MHz frequency for 3G was the problem?? I NEVER would have guessed...



    You do realize that it is the US government that allows AT&T to "own" a monopoly on the standard GSM/3G frequencies in the US, right?



    In other countries, multiple carriers use the same GSM/3G frequencies.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    Well, my wife would love it if the iPhone came to tmobile. She is a lifetime tmobile customer and gets a great price; but she has a my touch 4g that at least 4 times a day she yells at because it's a pile o junk! Just last night the screen would turn off 5 digits into dialing a phone number. It freezes constantly, it's super slow, like finish typing your sentence and watch it slowly appear, like an old selectric typewriter. I have to take the battery out at least once a day oh, and the battery life sucks, it nearly always dead or sitting on the charger, plus the touch screen is slightly inaccurate so browsing the web is frustrating.



    Google navigation is really cool though, best feature on android IMO



    She loves my 4s, it takes better pics than our old point & shoot (great for the kids) plus I go weeks without restarting it. it never freezes, and the battery lasts longer.

    Just wish it had better NAV
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