AT&T’s deal as the exclusive iPhone carrier in the U.S. could come to an end as early as this fall, and Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu thinks Apple’s second partner could be T-Mobile. In contrast, most analysts have been predicting Apple would team up with Verizon since it’s the largest U.S. cell service provider.
According to Mr. Wu, Apple would have an easier time bringing T-Mobile on board because the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 both support the 2100MHz frequency the carrier uses as well as the 850MHZ and 1900MHz frequencies AT&T operates on.
He also noted that both AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technologies, where Verizon and Sprint rely on CDMA. Since the technologies aren’t directly compatible, Apple would be forced to build a special version of the iPhone just for Verizon’s network, which the company isn’t likely to do.
Mr. Wu also claimed bringing a new iPhone partner on board would help Apple keep its lead over Google’s Android in the smartphone market.
Apple’s new iPhone 4 is set to go on sale on June 24 in several countries. Apple will begin accepting pre-orders on June 15.
Mr. Wu is maintaining his “Buy” rating and US$320 target price for Apple’s stock. Apple is currently trading at $244.64, up 1.44 (0.59%).
[Thanks to Fortune for the heads up.]