CES: T-Mobile iPhone In 3 to 4 Months?

Gary Krakow

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - It seems T-Mobile might be one step closer to selling an Apple(:AAPL) iPhone 5 of its own.

In an interview with Reuters at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Deutsche Telekom CEO John Legere says that a T-Mobile USA iPhone will be available within the next three to four months.

While giving few additional details, Legere said that the deal with Apple will be announced sooner rather than later. The exact quote was "in three to four months, as opposed to six to nine months".

The timing of the move may be pinned to another big announcement. T-Mobile is expected to announce the rollout of its own 4G, LTE network. In addition to being the last major cellular provider to offer an iPhone, it's also the last major provider to switch to LTE services.

All this is dependent on the closing of the merger with MetroPCS(:PCS) - also expected sometime in the second quarter. As you might guess, MetroPCS's LTE network is vital to the iPhone deal.

The iPhone will be one of T-Mobile's first handsets to be sold without subsidies as part of the company's push to lower monthly service prices. Other carriers subsidize the initial purchase price of their phones with the difference being paid by subscribers over the life of the service contract.

Legere told Reuters that he hopes the new phone and payment plan will help boost T-Mobile's market share as much as 5% or more in the near future.

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--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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