Apple's iPhone 5 won't be offered on T-Mobile this year, according to a leaked internal document purportedly from the carrier's chief marketing officer.
"We are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year," CMO Cole Brodman is quoted as saying in a transcript of a company town hall, itself reported on the blog TmoNews (which bills itself as "The Unofficial T-Mobile Blog"). The posting was quickly picked up by other blogs, including the Apple-centric 9to5Mac.
Apple is reportedly planning to unveil the iPhone 5 sometime in October. Rumors suggest the company will also release a line of lower-cost iPhones, modeled after the existing iPhone 4 and aimed at combating midmarket Android devices.
The New York Times, based on information from an anonymous Apple employee, then offered that the iPhone 5's unveiling is "just weeks away." That Sept. 15 article also mentioned that the iPhone 5 will offer an 8-megapixel camera and A5 dual-core processor, along with some deviation from the design template established by the iPhone 4.
If Brodman's statement about T-Mobile not receiving the iPhone in 2011 is correct, that could make it the only U.S. carrier not offering Apple's latest device. Current rumors (backed by a Bloomberg report from earlier this month) suggest that Sprint will offer the iPhone with unlimited data-service plans.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has estimated that giving Sprint the iPhone would boost the device's overall sales by 6 million units. A Sprint iPhone would also leave T-Mobile as the only U.S. carrier without an Apple phone in its device portfolio, although the latter's parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, has offered the iPhone for years in Germany (and is allowing customers to preorder the iPhone 5, although without any mention of a release date or device specs).
If T-Mobile ends up acquired by AT&T, its customers could inherit the ability to purchase the iPhone-but federal regulators seem intent on denying that acquisition. That would leave T-Mobile with the sole option of negotiating directly with Apple to carry the iPhone, a deal that would almost certainly evolve on Apple's terms.
Brodman's statement, of course, also opens the door to T-Mobile receiving the next-generation iPhone in 2012. In a certain way, that would mimic Verizon, which received the iPhone 4 early in 2011 despite the actual phone having been released on AT&T in the summer of 2010.