T-Mobile, the only one out of the "big four" carriers in US left out of an iPhone deal, is hoping to get in on the action with Apple's next generation handset; but as a recent statement from the carrier reveals, this is far from a certainty, contrary to recent reports.
T-Mobile's CTO Neville Ray hinted towards this possibility a few days ago in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. He pointed out the fact that Apple's "next chipset will support AWS," with AWS being the spectrum used by T-Mobile for its HSPA+ network.
Subsequently, a number of reports suggested this meant a T-Mobile iPhone 5 was a done deal; the carrier then felt it necessary to release the following clarification:
"Comments made by T-Mobile’s CTO, Neville Ray, regarding the evolution of chipsets to include additional bands were misconstrued. Mr. Ray was speaking generally to chipset advancements available to all phone manufacturers. T-Mobile has no knowledge of Apple’s product roadmap and our position on the iPhone has not changed."
"The key reason we didn't have the iPhone in the past is we are on different band than globally the market was," T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm explained. "That is something which will change over time. Chipsets are also evolving to be able to allow for more bands."
Another possible reason T-Mobile was also overlooked by decision makers from Cupertino prior to the 4S launch, was due to the uncertainty surrounding the planned merger with AT&T - but that deal is now definitely off.
T-Mobile is certainly making technological advancements, providing reasons for Apple to offer the fourth US carrier a deal for the next generation iPhone.
However, Kevin Fitchard of GigaOm points out that it will become more and more difficult to build a single handset that functions across global networks; Apple (and other device makers) "will be forced to pick and choose which LTE bands they can feasibly support in a single device," he predicts.