I know. The rumors about the iPhone coming to T-Mobile have been flying around since the CES expo in January. However, every time the rumor popped up again, it got a little more specific. In May, T-Mobile began making changes to its network that were clearly the groundwork for nationwide 4G LTE, a prerequisite for carrying the iPhone. Last month, the rumor was that T-Mobile might announce the iPhone on its network by "early 2013."
Today, Fortune is reporting that a Merrill Lynch analyst has begun spreading the news that "speculation is heightening" of an iPhone announcement by T-Mobile. The speculation surrounds Deutche Telekom, T-Mobile USA's parent company, announcing the big news at an analyst day next week on December 6. The analyst predicts that T-Mobile could sell around 4 million, increasing Apple revenue by around 1%.
It's clear that T-Mobile will eventually be getting the iPhone, though the timing is still up in the air. Ever since the carrier's acquisition by AT&T was foiled by the U.S. Justice Department last year, T-Mobile has doubled-down on becoming a real competitor to Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. Though T-Mobile is still the fourth largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscriber numbers, its 4G LTE coverage is expanding rapidly and it's recent merger with MetroPCS puts its subscriber numbers close to that of Sprint. The company has also appointed a new CEO and new CMO this fall, meaning the company's direction and marketing are getting a fresh look.