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Friday, May 02, 2014, 05:41 am PT (08:41 am ET)

Prepaid US carrier MetroPCS 'very interested' in carrying Apple's iPhone

Executives for T-Mobile, which owns low-cost prepaid wireless provider MetroPCS, have signaled that they are looking to bring the iPhone to the U.S. carrier, further expanding Apple's availability.

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T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said in an interview with Re/code that his company is "very interested" in bringing the iPhone to MetroPCS. He also added that customers on the prepaid carrier have also expressed a desire to have access to Apple's bestselling smartphone lineup.

Prepaid customers on competing carrier Virgin Mobile USA, which is owned by Sprint, have had access to Apple's iPhone since last June.

As of last fall, MetroPCS had more than 1.5 million subscribers. But since then, the MetroPCS brand has expanded under T-Mobile's guidance, with 465,000 prepaid net customer additions announced in the first quarter of 2014 alone.

T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS last year, and has been gradually switching the carrier's legacy CDMA network over to its own GSM technology. T-Mobile announced this week that more than half of MetroPCS customers are now on devices that run on T-Mobile's network, while the carrier has also expanded the prepaid brand into 30 new markets since the merger was finalized.



The addition of MetroPCS customers helped T-Mobile's bottom line in the company's first-quarter results, which were reported this week. The self-proclaimed "Uncarrier" added 2.4 million net new customers in the three-month span, as it works to differentiate itself from bigger rivals AT&T and Verizon.

Still, the U.S. wireless landscape may get even smaller in the near future, as Sprint is said to be hoping to buy T-Mobile in an all-cash deal. That would mean the merging of the third- and fourth-largest wireless providers in the country.

AT&T previously attempted to buy T-Mobile, but that deal was rejected by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which felt the deal would be poor for consumers.

T-Mobile has been carrying the iPhone for just over a year, a deal that left customers waiting nearly six years to have access to Apple's handset lineup, which first launched in mid-2007. T-Mobile also offers Apple's iPad with high-speed LTE connectivity.