We have all known once AT&T lost its death grip of the iPhone, which they now admit in an FCC filing their network couldnt support, we would see it on more carriers. We have heard the rumors since the beginning that every U.S. based carrier would be getting the iPhone in (fill in the blank) months. 90% of those predictions did not pan out.
As rumors go, I had even seen an internal T-Mobile document in early 2010 that said the carrier was going to carry the device in June of 2010. That date came and went without a launch on T-Mobile. Fast forward to now and Verizon is carrying the iPhone and Sprint and T-Mobile still are not.
We now are seeing an actual T-Mobile iPhone working on their AWS (3G) network which BGR got. Users who currently unlock their AT&T iPhone and move to T-Mobile are stuck with EDGE data speeds because the AT&T iPhone does not support the AWS band radio.
While this iPhone obviously exists and I am sure it has for a long time, does it mean anything major right now? The answer is, it depends.
We have a pending AT&T / T-Mobile merger and while I estimate the AWS network from T-Mobile being active for a few years after a merger is approved it is hard to say if Apple would release a phone that will be rendered useless in the not too distant future. On the flip side, Apple could easily launch this device for T-Mobile and if the merger is approved have users migrate to an AT&T iPhone which would be at least two years from now. If the merger does not get approved Apple is simply in with another carrier and selling more iPhone devices. In the end Apple really has nothing to lose dropping an iPhone to T-Mobile.
Below are some pictures of the unreleased device in white. I think it would be a good thing for T-Mobile to get the iPhone even with a pending merger. As T-Mobile has stated many times they will remain a competitor to AT&T and compete until the day the merger closes.
Would you get a T-Mobile iPhone?