Rumors are now suggesting that Apple will be launching the next generation of the iPhone, the iPhone 5, on both T-Mobile and Sprint networks.
CNET reported that Piper Jaffray analyst Chris Larsen views that the most noteworthy development coming the iPhone 5's way is that it will be available with Sprint and T-Mobile. The development is slated to increase Apple's market share by 30 percent.
In May, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek had stated that Apple will be releasing iPhone on Sprint, T-Mobile and China Mobile in the next 12 months. However, Misek called the upcoming iPhone iPhone 4S, rather than calling it the iPhone 5.
In June, T-Mobile revealed that it already has about a million iPhones on its network. Most of the iPhones running on its network are pre-iPhone 4 models. And since they are older than iPhone 4 they do not have the hardware to support 3G or 4G service. Thus users with old iPhones on the T-Mobile network are only able to get 2G EDGE speeds. However this deficiency has not stopped users from owning an iPhone on T-Mobile.
Apple also recently officially started selling unlocked GSM phones. Using iPhone 4 on T-Mobile would have required manual altering of standard SIM cards, as iPhone 4 uses a micro-SIM and T-Mobile does not offer a micro-SIM variant.
In the light of this revelation one wonders if Apple will release an iPhone specifically for T-Mobile. The decision to launch a T-Mobile iPhone could also be delayed because of the pending decision on the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile.
The arrival of iPhone 5 on Sprint was also forecasted by Citadel Securities analyst Shing Yin. Yin had argued that since Verizon had ended its unlimited data plans and because Sprint offered cheaper plans compared to Verizon and AT&T, an iPhone on Sprint would appeal to price conscious users.
Thus Apple could justify launching the old iPhone models or a cheaper iPhone on Sprint and T-Mobile networks as there exists a demand for old models on T-Mobile network and price sensitive customers would be willing to buy a cheaper iPhone on Sprint because of its cheaper data plans.
In fact last month Fortune quoted Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore as stating that Apple will release not one but two phones, an iPhone 5 which will come loaded with super specifications and an iPhone 4S, a cheaper version of iPhone.
Whitmore said: With Nokia and RIMM struggling, the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smart-phone market (i.e. $300-500 category) to dramatically expand its [total addressable market] and market share.
The Deutsche Bank analyst believes that the iPhone 4S will be priced at $349, will be an unlocked model and will come with a pre-paid voice plan.
However while users wait for the next iPhone rumors suggest that iPhone 5 will feature an edge-to-edge display, a 3.7-inch curved glass screen, A5 processor, dual-LED flash, an 8MP camera and a worldphone SIM-less design.