Talks between Apple and T-Mobile on bringing the iPhone 4 to a second carrier in the US are said to be in advanced stages, with an 80 percent chance that the device will be offered by T-Mobile by the end of September. Should this happen, AT&T would no longer be the exclusive carrier for the iPhone 4 in the United States.
The anonymous source told Cult of Mac that T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, was influencing the talks. Deutsche Telekom carries the iPhone on its network in Germany.
Many iPhone users already jumped over to T-Mobile after jailbreaking and unlocking their iPhones. A switch to Verizon Wireless would require hardware changes, including installation of a bulkier CDMA radio chip. Apple has so far avoided building two different versions of its hardware, instead choosing to make one model iPhone that can be sold and used around the world on GSM networks.
Rumors of Apple choosing a Qualcomm dual-mode chip that would make it possible for iPhones to work on both AT&T and Verizon did not come true. Analysts believe that Apple and AT&T renegotiated the terms of their exclusive contract before the iPad launch. Apple is eager to get the iPhone on multiple carriers, as it has done in other countries. It's possible Apple offered AT&T iPad data plans in exchange for cutting their exclusive five-year iPhone contract short. The iPhone has been available on AT&T Wireless for three years now.T-Mobile is the fourth largest cellular carrier in the US, with almost 34 million customers. Like AT&T their network uses GSM technology, although it's not clear if the iPhone 4 will support T-Mobile's 1700 MHz band. It's possible the band is supported but not listed in the official specifications of the iPhone 4 on the Apple website.
Many are waiting for the iPhone to come to Verizon's network, with the largest subscriber base in the country. Recent reports have stated that the iPhone 4 could make its way to Verizon as early as January 2011. As usual, Apple and T-Mobile refuse to comment on rumors or speculation.