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T-Mobile blames lack of iPhone for deactivations

T-Mobile announced its quarterly earnings on Thursday and in its Q4 2011 financial statement, the carrier used the word iPhone seven times. In T-Mobile's case, the iPhone wasn't the bearer of good news, but the scapegoat for the carrier's less-than-stellar performance this past quarter.

T-Mobile now has 33.2 million customers, down from the 33.7 million in the previous quarter. It lost 526,000 net customers in the last three months of 2011 and its churn rate climbed to 4.0 percent. When explaining these negative changes, Philipp Humm -- CEO and President of T-Mobile USA -- said, "not carrying the iPhone led to a significant increase in contract deactivations in the fourth quarter of 2011.

T-Mobile is in a tough situation. Even if it wanted the iPhones 4S, it couldn't carry it because the handset does not support T-Mobile's flavor of 3/4G. T-Mobile is the only carrier in the US which uses the 1700/2100 AWS band for its HSDPA+ network and Apple has not opted to build an iPhone with a compatible radio.

This might change as carriers start to transition over to LTE. T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon all own portions of the AWS spectrum and may use a portion of it for their LTE networks. If enough carriers choose AWS for LTE, then T-Mobile has a shot at getting the iPhone in the future. This is still at least a year away as T-Mobile announced on Thursday that it won't launch its LTE network until 2013.

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