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T-Mobile to offer Apple products next year

A sign for a T-Mobile store is displayed, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in New York. T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Good news for T-Mobile customers broke quietly Thursday. The fourth-place network is finally going to offer Apple products.

In a release Thursday, T-Mobile US A parent company Deutsche Telekom announced that the carrier will be getting Apple products in 2013. T-Mobile is the largest national wireless carrier not to offer the iPhone — a glaring hole in the company’s otherwise diverse smartphone lineup.

The announcement was surprisingly low-key, given the demand T-Mobile customers have expressed for Apple products. The German telecommunications giant dropped the mention of its collaboration with Apple into the middle of a larger release on Deutsche Telekom’s plan for the new year, after the company announced plans for optical fiber in Germany.

“In addition, T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013,” the release said.

The company didn’t offer further details on which Apple products it would offer, though it’s likely that the iPhone will be at the top of the list. Customers who wanted the iPhone on T-Mobile’s network have had to make do with more expensive, unlocked versions of the device.

Rumors had been circulating that the company would get Apple products soon. But there was skepticism that the company’s current network would not be able to handle the additional load, particularly since it’s only in the trial stages of its 4G LTE network buildout. The statement indicates that the companies will work together to provide Apple products — likely in conjunction with T-Mobile’s official LTE launch announcement.

T-Mobile has been busy in the past few months. A deal with Verizon locked up much-needed spectrum for its next generation in August. In October, the company announced its intention to merge with MetroPCS, also to supplement its LTE efforts.

Related stories:

T-Mobile, Metro PCS announce merger

T-Mobile, MetroPCS to launch unlimited 4G data plans

Apple begins selling unlocked iPhone 5

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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