One analyst believes Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be ready to give T-Mobile some love, with the iPhone being made available on the carrier’s network by early next year. The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary could “announce official iPhone distribution in early 2013,” Morgan Stanley analyst Nick Delfas said in a research note to clients on Tuesday. While the analyst did not offer any additional details, according to CNET, he added that such a deal would add between one and two million buyers for the iPhone 5 in the first quarter of the year.
While iPhone shipments in the first three months of the year are predicted to exceed those in the current quarter even without the addition of T-Mobile to the list of sellers, Delfas said the relationship would be a “catalyst” for higher sales. Delfas’ colleague Katy Huberty estimated on Monday that Apple may have sold 25 million iPhones in the third quarter on the back of the latest device, though she added that even this number was a conservative one. According to Huberty, if Apple was to continue its growth in China, it may sell 247 million iPhones next year, while in a scenario where it didn’t reach a deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) unit sales could be limited to 180 million.
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At the moment, T-Mobile is the only one of the four major U.S. carriers to not offer the Apple smartphone, though it has a huge number of unofficial iPhone customers who use unlocked handsets. The company has planned to spend $4 billion to shore up its 4G LTE network and is also set to merge with MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), which will boost its reach.