iPhone May Be Coming to T-Mobile USA This Fall

Cult of Mac is reporting that according to a "highly placed source" within the company, T-Mobile is in the "advanced stage" of talks with Apple regarding a certain gadget. Yes, that means a T-Mobile iPhone could be in our future.

According to Cult of Mac's source, it is "80 percent likely that the iPhone will be coming to T-Mobile in Q3." The explanation as to why this timing fits is that this would correspond with the point when AT&T's exclusivity agreement with Apple will reportedly end and that Apple "routinely added extra carriers when exclusivity deals in [overseas] markets expired." The idea is that the company would follow that pattern in the US as well.

Of course, there is plenty of disagreement as to why Apple would even choose T-Mobile of all the possible carriers that could be added:

Most pundits expect Apple to add Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest mobile phone provider with 92.8 million subscribers. AT&T is the second-largest US carrier with 87 million customers. The major problem is hardware: Verizon's network is based on incompatible CDMA technology. However, Apple is already working with chipset-supplier Qualcomm on a CDMA chip for the iPhone, according to Wired.

But some analysts think it would be a lot simpler for Apple to go with T-Mobile, even though the carrier has a third of the customers of Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile are the two primary GSM carriers in the US, and the iPhone wouldn't require major hardware changes. Indeed, many T-Mobile customers already use unlocked iPhones on the company's network.

Perhaps more importantly, a switch to Verizon would require a major realignment of corporate allegiances. Verizon is committed to Apple's main wireless rival, Google, and has spent the last year heavily marketing the search giant's Android phones. Verizon routinely runs ads directly attacking the iPhone. The most recent attack ad mocked the iPhone 4's "death grip."

As Cult of Mac mentions, there's also a big issue potentially standing in the way of a simple move to T-Mobile though:

One important point, to which I don't have the answer, is whether the iPhone 4 is compatible with T-Mobile's 3G network. Customers with unlocked iPhone 3GS are able to use T-Mobile's Edge data network, but not the faster 3G, which operates on the 1700/2100 MHz bands. According to Apple's specs, the iPhone 4 adds the 2100 band, but not the 1700 band, which has led some to conclude that it is incompatible with T-Mobile's 3G network.

There are a lot of questions about what the details of these talks could be—as well as if they're really occurring—but unfortunately both Apple is refusing to comment and the only thing T-Mobile seems to be talking about lately is the fancy HSPA+ upgrades its network is getting. [Cult of Mac]