Here's a first -- as Apple launches the expected two new iPhone models tomorrow, all four US carriers are expected to have the new devices as soon as they are available at retail.
That includes T-Mobile, which has lagged behind AT&T, Verizon and Sprint at having rapid access to the latest iPhones. That's the word from Bloomberg News today, which also notes that having the latest phones at T-Mobile, especially the widely expected lower-cost model, may attract Verizon and AT&T users because T-Mobile has some added flexibility in plans.
AT&T had an iPhone exclusive until 2011 when Verizon jumped into the market. That same year, Sprint followed. T-Mobile now offers non-contract iPhones, but users pay a higher, non-subsidized price. Currently an iPhone 5 is US$649 with no contract, but the carrier also offers extended payment plans. A cheaper iPhone like the rumored iPhone 5C could make T-Mobile even more attractive to some users.
The new, less-expensive iPhone, should it appear, will also be attractive in overseas markets like Russia, India and China where Apple has only a small footprint. It may also be the incentive that led Japan's DoCoMo to announce that it will carry the iPhone starting this fall.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.