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T-Mobile hopes the iPhone will curb subscriber losses


T-Mobile has been losing customers like a sieve, but that may change next year when the carrier finally starts carrying the iPhone. T-Mobile USA Chief Executive John Legere told reporters on Friday that the company hopes the iPhone will attract additional customers and expects to see a positive benefit on its subscriber base as early as next year. "It is an aggressive target but we think it is possible," Legere said.

T-Mobile's subscriber numbers for the past year have been abysmal, due in part to the gap left in the carrier's handset portfolio because it didn't carry the iPhone. "It was very clear that a certain number of customers wouldn't come to the store if we didn't have the iPhone. There was a definite churn impact," he said.

The carrier lost 510,000 lucrative branded-contract customers in Q1, 557,000 in Q2 and 492,000 in Q3. Ironically, this Q3 number is slightly lower thanks to the iPhone 5. T-Mobile has been vigorously courting iPhone owners, enticing them to unlock their iPhone and sign up for one of the carrier's inexpensive calling plans. It also has been upgrading its HSPA+ network and now supports the iPhone in select areas.

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