T-Mobile Confirms Removal Of “Apple iPhone” Name In Marketing

T-Mobile has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal the removal of the Apple iPhone name from the company’s “bring your own device” marketing push. T-Mobile says the reason for the change was a “natural progression,” and that the company had planned only to use the iPhone name for the month of September. T-Mobile says it will switch out the iPhone image for “other AT&T smartphone images” in the future and the program, which will continue to include iPhone demonstrations in-store, is not changing.

According to the T-Mobile spokesperson who spoke with the newspaper, the company didn’t have any “direct communication” with Apple that she was aware of. Apple declined to comment, along with an AT&T spokesperson.

T-Mobile says that “while the language seems strong” in the leaked image we presented yesterday, it was only intended to make sure sales representatives switched out marketing materials on schedule.

What do you think? Did Apple pressure T-Mobile over the name or was it really a “natural progression?”

Wall Street Journal

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  • Whitney

    It sound like it came from T-mobile. If they had no communication with Apple then it was T-mobile

  • eanfoso

    It seems more of a crapple push, since we can recall that fruit company in Poland for naming their website; a.pl perhaps T-Mobile feared a lawsuit for copyrights or something lol

  • Whiskers

    I still think the other three carriers complained to Apple about the T-Mobile iphone deal and i’ll bet something was discussed behind closed doors.

  • Bratty

    Waiting for the conspiracy nuts to come out now with another spin on how Apple has taken TMo’s mama hostage and this statement is just blackmail and the proof is how scared the spokesperson was and kept shifting her eyes to the grassy knoll just yonder.

  • Get_at_Me

    Tmo doesnt wanna throw apple under the bus. I dont buy the natural progression response.

  • I feel that “Natural Progression” is the the progression of TMo getting an official iPhone, it only seems logical, no more slander of the iPhone because we might be getting an official one? No more need for an unlocked one perhaps! Just speculating.

    • archerian

      better luck for MetroPCS to get the iPhone

    • Trevnerdio

      Not gonna happen. T-Mobile doesn’t have the money to waste on it. Besides, they already have a lottt of iPhone users on their network, and more will come as they make it AT&T-device-compatible (PCS Band)

      • Again this is speculation and my standpoint…

        You have a point, but from a business standpoint starting negotiations early on carrying the iPhone makes a lot of sense at this crucial moment when TMo is trying to grow and separate from DT. In the long run getting an official iPhone for TMo will garner more customers; not everyone has $600 to spend on an unlocked iPhone. This will bring in budget shoppers, and people who want the iPhone, and keep customers on the network (for those leaving for the iPhone). It would be the best of both worlds for TMo and people looking for a versatile carrier. You can either bring in an unlocked device, iPhone or any other device that will run on the network. Their changing of the branding from BYOi to BOYD makes sense if you look at it from this standpoint. Don’t just bring in your unlocked iPhone, bring in ANY unlocked phone that will run on our network.

        TMo is growing, and is growing very well. If this merger goes through I see TMo taking 3rd easily. If TMo gets an iPhone for 2013 and allows people to bring in their unlocked devices, and maintain the great prices they have, imagine the growth. We’d be getting new customers for the iPhone, transfer customers bringing in unlocked iPhones, people with other unlocked devices like the One X+, and people would WANT to stay on the network with awesome devices and low prices. TMo would eventually get more exclusives, more customers, and CHA-CHING more money leading TMo in the long run to the #1 spot. Along with tactical buying of spectrum and expansion of coverage area, TMo will go far.

        And, end of speculation and hope.
        Kevin out.

        • abc

          I will buy an unlocked Lumia 920 and bring it to T-Mobile

        • Then kudos to you. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to have the money to spend on an unlocked device, we’d rather have that device native to the carrier.

      • Whitney

        but T-mobile has the money to waste on crappy butt phones Nokia 810

      • Trevnerdio

        Oh hey…would you look at that? We did get our own iPhone…

  • thepanttherlady

    If you hold your cursor over the 3rd “tab” on their main page it still says: “Bring your unlocked AT&T iPhone® or GSM phone” ;)

    • jonathan3579

      Good spot.

    • WirelessRefugee

      Generally it is legal to say something like that. What can be prohibited is, for example, an ad campaign where a company makes it appear it is selling the iPhone, uses iPhones in ad campaigns, and otherwise conveys the impression one is an authorized seller.

      Straight Talk is a good example. They used to say “works with any iPhone” and the micro SIM page had an iPhone 4S right in your face.

      I don’t blame Apple. Companies pay a lot of money to sell the iPhone and exclusivity/cachet is part of the come-on to pay Apple ridiculous prices for an inferior technology.

      Apple also has to be aggressive in protecting its IP, lest someone argue Apple has waived, abandoned or does not consider the particular tech, or certain conduct illegal.

  • Zach Mauch

    Tmobile obviously still wants the iPhone. So I’m guessing they just don’t want to piss them off. My bet is Apple made a polite call and Tmobile politely agreed.

    As for why TMo still doesn’t have this particular choice of fruit, I’m guessing it’s because they refuse to give Apple the profit cut they want. TMo prides themselves on the best service value. Giving too much for the iPhone would definitely cause an increase in costs to the consumer. When you combine that with the possible impact to service speeds I hope T-Mobile never gets the iPhone. I’m an Android guy as it is.

    • unknown


  • mikkej2k

    T-Mobile should make their wi-fi calling app available on Google Play and I-tunes if they’re serious.

    And before someone post that there are other calling apps available , this is the only one that’s carrier supported.

    This way people that choose to migrate can use wi-fi calling with no hassle.

    • Nearmsp

      T-mobile’s Bobsled App is already there both in iOs and Android markets.

      • mikkej2k

        Bobsled is not the same as the native preloaded wi-fi calling app.

    • Trevnerdio

      More than just the app has to be present. You have to have framework add-ons, which we all know Apple would cringe at. Further, they’d have to test every single phone, at the least on T-Mobile’s network, for compatibility.

      • mikkej2k

        I said Google Play and Itunes. So I’m not just refering to non-T-Mobile Iphones , but Android devices as well.

        Whatever it takes to develop its wi-fi calling app as a stand alone , downloadable app for people that bring their own device , T-mobile should do it.

        This is one of the few things that T-Mobile has that sets them apart from the other carrriers. They should take advantage of it.

        • Zombie Killer

          There is nothing they NEED to do. SIP-calling is integrated with the Android dialer application. All they would need to do is offer SIP access to customer accounts and anybody with an Android phone could make use of it.

        • mikkej2k

          I agree there is nothing that T-Mobile NEEDS to do . That’s why I did not use that word in the previous post – no editing either.

      • Zombie Killer

        That so-called “framework” is just present to make the application file incompatible with devices that didn’t ship with it pre-installed.

        • Trevnerdio

          Yep. I didn’t say it was hard to do, Apple is just a douche about things like that

    • Zombie Killer

      That would be inconsistent with tmobile’s marketing. They don’t want to give out the application for free, they want people to buy a new phone on contract with the application pre-installed. If that wasn’t the case, they could simply use a STANDARDS COMPLIANT protocol (like SIP) and offer PBX service to switch between the two depending on reception.

  • mikkej2k

    It makes you wonder , what is the value of bloatware that T-Mobile and other carriers place on the phones. T-Mobile is the first major carrier in the US to openly lobby for potential customers to bring their own phone.

    If it’s a phone from another network it won’t have any of T-Mobiles software. Software that seems like a waste for the most part. Instead of wasting development time and dollars on bloatware , maybe T-Mobile should focus money and resources on things that are necessary.

  • UMA_Fan

    At the end of the day, Apple only gains from T-Mobile advertising their device to bring to their network. It’s basically free marketing for Apple on T-Mobile’s dime. Apple is in the business of selling phones after all, I’m sure they could care less what network it’s on. T-Mobile, as an operator, should have a right to demonstrate what devices work on their network.

    One likely motivation, of the removal of the iPhone from the marketing, not mentioned is simply that T-Mobile does not want to use their money to market for Apple if they can help it. Apple is an OEM which is not helping their business. I can see that’s how their natural progression story fits in where marketing BYOD w/ the iPhone only made sense the month when the iPhone 5 launched.

    • This makes the most sense, thus I’m gonna go the opposite direction & with my Android fanboyism say that Apple be hatin!! CUZ THEY EVIL!!!!

    • PhantomWraith

      well your wrong and here’s why. Apple the manufacturer only makes money by selling the phone to carriers they don’t make money from someone keeping their phone and moving to another carrier since T-Mobile has refused to pay the high cost to carry the Iphone on their network Apple doesn’t make any money from them switching to T-mobile mainly due to the fact most people won’t pay full price for the new iphone which they would have to do if they are still on T-mobile’s network.

      • nd5

        Not sure I agree with you. Apple also sells unlocked phones directly to consumers. This is probably more profitable for Apple. Why would they care if T-Mobile invites people to purchase iPhones directly from Apple and use it on the refarmed network?

        • PhantomWraith

          Because almost all like 95% of the money apple makes is from subsidized phones not unlocked phones. If what you said is true then there shouldn’t be anyone on here saying T-mobile should get the iphone since most people can just run out and buy it unlocked.

        • Noone

          Dont be surprised when that happens very soon

      • Paul

        I agree with nd5, there are a lot of people that buy unlocked or iPhone at full price. Given it’s not as much as the people that renew or just switch, but it could be used as a bargaining tool for lowering the cost Magenta might pay for iPhones in bulk.
        Ya never know.

      • WirelessRefugee

        Well, as one can see from my earlier post, I agree with what you are saying.
        This is Apple telling prepaid carriers that unless they have a deal with Apple, they will cease and desist using iPhone products in their advertising and stop featuring the iPhone in marketing, that gives consumers the (false) impression that the carrier is an authorized iPhone seller.

        See before where I mentioned Straight Talk, where its prominent iPhone ads have vanished.

        Now in contrast, consider this.

        – Sprint entered into a 4-year, $15.5 billion deal with Apple.
        – Sprint as part of its wise expansion into prepaid bought Virgin Mobile USA.
        – See this page for Virgin Mobile USA’s phone availability page:


        Is that proof enough on why T-Mobile is “ceasing and desisting” with its iPhone ad campaign.

  • sIII

    Tmobile a bottom feeder nothing more.

    • Kev

      You are an Idiot!! Nothing More

  • WirelessRefugee

    Well you know I work in IP legal. This was Apple’s doing. It was getting killed with Straight Talk’s BYOP advertising, that prominently displayed the iPhone in its ads for micro SIM cards. (In fact, the WSJ was right that Straight Talk’s “prepaid iPhone” was going to change the industry.)

    TMOUS saw the success ST was having with its iPhone come-on it decided to follow suit.

    Alas, while Apple can’t risk Washington going after it for anti-competitive acts, Apple can tell unauthorized carriers to not use its products in ads.

    That’s fair to me because if I was Sprint, who paid $15 billion to make a deal with Satan, I would be frosted if Straight Talk and T-Mobile 1) Did not pay Apple to “sell” the iPhone; and 2) they were dipping into my sales.

    All the carriers selling the iPhone paid a lot of money for the right to do so. I have no problem with them wanting to keep the club exclusive.

    Sidenote: Take a look at Straight Talk, you don’t see the word iPhone mentioned prominently on the Site AND all they now say is “micro sim available too.” And it is damn hard to find the micro sim order page and iPhone is in the last sentence, in relative obscurity..


    I think the bigger news here is that TMoNews got mentioned in the WSJ. Congratulations!

    • PhantomWraith

      UH OH you make sense, careful most of the people that come here don’t want to hear sensible things they only want to hear what they believe to be true with no real foundation for facts. Anyone who has worked in any kind of business should know it always boils down to money. Apple has proven time and again they are one of the most greediest companies on the planet.

  • PhantomWraith

    Well when I said apple would threaten to sue when you first brought this up during the refarm everyone attacked me and said that apple would never do that and I was out of my mind to even think they might. Here we are exactly as I said they would not such a far fetched concept now I guess.

  • Tbyrne

    Apple, Snapple. Who gives a $h!t!

  • Noone

    How can tmo say they only planned to display the iphone on their merchandising for one month when they invested in putting an iphone in every single store? The only time they have ever done that was when they went all in with the mytouch. Sounds like a whole bunch of backpedaling to me…

  • Houstone

    I’ve got 3G on my iPhone and it’s awesome. 5yra after getting my first iPhone.
    Houston, tx

  • zp

    Hilarious response by T-mo. They got a cease & desist smackdown from Apple.

  • Laststop311

    maybe u wouldnt have to waste money advertising this if you didnt have the absolute worst selection of phones. Your phone selection is terrible you suck t mobile MOAR!!! phone selection!

  • Zombie Killer

    I think it was a serious error in judgment for tmobile to advertise apple phones to begin with. That is regardless of whether the are removing it due to pressures (which would more likely have been from competitor carriers than from apple itself) or as a “natural progression”. Apple customers and advertisements are LOUD, but do NOT represent a particularly significant portion of the target market. The effect of this error wouldn’t be to convince apple customers to change carriers to tmobile, rather for NEW PHONE purchasers to go to att to buy apple products rather than buying a contract phone from tmobile.