T-Mobile customers, the wait is over: Your cell phone carrier is finally getting the iPhone.
The fourth-largest mobile carrier in America is partnering with Apple after going over half a decade without America's most popular smartphone, the company announced Thursday morning. In its financial statement for the fourth quarter of 2012, T-Mo parent company Deutsche Telekom revealed that T-Mobile USA "has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013," meaning that the largest carrier in the United States that didn't offer the iPhone has now filled its most glaring product hole.
(A brief caveat: You'll notice that T-Mobile doesn't actually identify which Apple products they'll be carrying. Most are assuming, however, that this announcement means an iPhone and iPad are indeed coming to T-Mobile. We've reached out to both Apple and T-Mobile for confirmation).
UPDATE: T-Mobile is still playing coy about which Apple devices it will carry. "Additional details will be made available at a later date," a T-Mobile spokesperson said in an email in response to a question about whether the iPhone was one of the devices coming to the network.
T-Mobile customers had watched for years as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and smaller regional carriers like Bluegrass Cellular, Appalachian Wireless and Alaski GCI all reached deals with Apple to carry the iPhone. Executives had repeatedly explained, as recently as November 2012, that Apple's asking price was just too high for the company to justify.
FInancial terms of the deal were not immediately revealed. In 2011 Sprint spent over $15 billion to carry iPhones in its stores in an expensive move that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse defended as essential to compete with Verizon and AT&T.
T-Mobile, meanwhile, had been plagued by widespread subscriber loss as customers fled to other providers that did offer the iPhone; recently, T-Mobile had been attempting to lure iPhone users away from carriers like AT&T, advertising its network and cheap data plans as ideal for those who already owned iPhones or those who bought unlocked iPhones online or through Apple.
The carrier with the pink logo won't have to rely on that gimmick for much longer, as it appears likely that T-Mobile retail stores will soon be stocked with iPhones for the first time since the phone's introduction in 2007. The company's next challenge may be to build out its 4G LTE network in time for its iPhone launch date. The network is expected to launch in 2013.
T-Mobile CEO Rene Obermann first announced the surprising news during a call with Wall Street analysts on Thursday morning, and the official statement confirming the agreement followed soon after, according to Engadget (which like the Huffington Post is owned by AOL).
We still don't know specifically when in 2013 the company will begin carrying the iPhone, but it appears that T-Mobile customers hoping for an iPhone in their lifetimes have finally gotten their wish.