T-Mobile USA Blames Lack of iPhone for Customer Loss in 4Q 2011
T-Mobile USA today announced earnings results for the fourth quarter of 2011, revealing a net loss of over 800,000 contract subscribers during the quarter. The carrier, which is now the only one of the four major U.S. carriers to not carry the iPhone, specifically blamed the launch of the iPhone 4S for the defections, mentioning the iPhone by name seven times in its release.
Sequentially, the decline in branded net contract customers was driven primarily by higher branded contract deactivations as a result of the launch of the iPhone 4S by three nationwide competitors in mid-October.
Following the collapse of a deal that would have seen T-Mobile USA acquired by AT&T, T-Mobile USA is seeking to reposition itself with a "challenger strategy" and move aggressively to roll out 4G LTE services beginning next year.
Other U.S. carriers have already been rolling out their LTE networks for some time, but T-Mobile has been behind that curve as it has relied on HSPA+ technology that previously gave it an advantage over some of the other carriers in data speeds. But with AT&T having upgraded its own network to HSPA+ even as it is already building out LTE, T-Mobile is now finding itself scrambling to recover from the holding pattern is was in while the AT&T acquisition deal was pending.