Just because T-Mobile is the underdog of the litter doesn't mean it relishes its place as the runt of the litter, especially when it comes to the iPhone.
The carrier's chief marketing officer, Cole Brodman, made that plain enough when addressing attendees at the Mobilize conference today in San Francisco. "We've made public our desire to have the iPhone," he said.
T-Mobile faces the reality of being the odd man out when the iPhone 5 comes around this fall. AT&T and Verizon already have relationships with Apple and currently carry the iPhone 4. While Sprint hasn't yet made it official, all signs point to Sprint being the next to get a version of the iPhone.
That leaves T-Mobile, that of an uncertain future and a fight to get acquired by AT&T. While the carriers, states, and feds duke it out over the fate of AT&T's T-Mobile buyout, it's been business as usual, with T-Mobile continuing to introduce new rate plans and devices, including two high-end Android smartphones today.
Even if the merger fails, Brodman said, T-Mobile is in a good position for customers. And even if they never get the iPhone, says Brodman, "our devices are on par, and better in many ways."
Does T-Mobile want the iPhone? Sure. "But the ball really is in [Apple's] court at this point."
And Apple, as usual, is playing hardball.