Seemingly apropos of Apple's recent decision to sell unlocked iPhones in the United States comes an interesting report that there are 1 million unlocked iPhones living on T-Mobile's network. They're not all iPhone 4's, but the report suggests some interesting trends. Read on for a little speculation on this wide open future of AT&T and T-Mobile and some channel implications ...

A tip of the hat goes to 9to5Mac.com, which was able to get this information firsthand. According to Seth Weintraub:
In a meeting with T-Mobile spokespeople today ahead of the NYC Pepcom event, I received word that there are actively over a million Apple iPhones currently on T-Mobile’s network.  When asked for a breakdown, the spokesman said the majority were pre-iPhone 4 but that a significant amount of people had “taken the scissors” to their T-Mobile SIM cards.
T-Mobile doesn't offer micro SIM cards, so subscribers who want to use T-Mobile SIM cards on unlocked iPhones actually need to cut the card down to size. What's more, there's only one generation of iPhone that doesn't support 3G, and as I've previously detailed, the iPhone's antennas do not work with T-Mobile's 3G frequencies. That means 1 million people love the iPhone (and likely their T-Mobile price plan) so much that they're willing to forgo fast mobile data to have the phone they really want.

It's a staggering figure, and it also could signal support of T-Mobile in the next iPhone, if one were to connect the dots with Apple's willingness to create a Verizon iPhone purely because the demand was high enough. And, of course, let's not forget the impending AT&T-T-Mobile merger. A new iPhone may even support all U.S. carriers in the 3G spectrum, and maybe select carriers in 4G, especially since the chip used in the Verizon iPhone had the potential of supporting dual-band operation. The long and short of it for the channel? More carrier proliferation means more devices to support. With a recent comScore report that 97 percent of all tablet surfing done in the United States is done on an iPad, it's time to get serious about supporting mobile Apple devices.

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