If the iPhone sweepstakes was a middle school dodge ball game, T-Mobile
would be the kid that always gets picked last. For whatever reason, the wireless carrier hasn't been able to sweet talk Apple
into letting it sell the iPhone, even though its main competitors -- AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon -- all do, plus a spattering of smaller carriers. Too bad, so sad, but before you weep for T-Mobile, know that it has a game plan for Apple's iPhone 5 launch.
In lieu of carrying Apple's next generation smartphone, which the Cupertino company will unveil to the public on September 12, T-Mobile is reportedly banking on the fact that scores of unlocked iPhone 4S owners will ditch their current devices on eBay, Craigslist, and wherever else, and that the people who end up buying them will be drawn to T-Mobile's all-you-can-feast data buffet.
"Anytime there is a new iconic device coming out, the secondary market increases," said Harry Thomas, director of marketing at T-Mobile. "That's one impact we expect to see."
To encourage used iPhone owners to switch to T-Mobile, the wireless carrier is testing a promotion in Atlanta and New York whereby iPhone customers who ink themselves into a two-year service agreement will receive a $100 gift card. The iPhone 4S is already a year old, but at the same time, for users who don't need the latest and greatest that's out there, it's a compelling option when combined with T-Mobile's $70/month unlimited talk, text, and data plan.