The phones include eSIM technology that makes it easier for consumers to move between carriers. Anything that "reduces the friction of switching" benefits T-Mobile because "we're the share taker in the market," COO Mike Sievert said at a Goldman Sachs (GS) investor conference Wednesday.
The iPhones unveiled Wednesday are also compatible with the swath of 600 MHz spectrum that T-Mobile spent $8 billion to acquire last year. As T-Mobile builds out its network on the new spectrum, it can use the new iPhones as incentive to attract customers. "Man, that's a big deal," Sievert said.
T-Mobile closed up 0.8% at $68.48 on Thursday. The stock has gained 3.9% since the close prior to Apple's announcements.
T-Mobile is the only carrier using the spectrum, as BTIG LLC analyst Walt Piecyk noted in a Thursday report. "Including these 3 new iPhones, T-Mobile now has 17 devices available on that support the 600 MHz frequency band, including flagship products from Samsung and LG," he wrote. What's good for T-Mobile is good for Sprint (S) , as long as the carriers can pull off their blockbuster merger.
AT&T (T) bought 600 MHz licenses as well, though it is now planning to sell them. But it also scored a win with the new iPhone ... to an extent. Piecyk noted that the new iPhones are also compatible with the 700 MHz licenses that AT&T gets to deploy as part of its winning bid for the government's FirstNet contract to provide service to first responders and other public safety workers.
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AT&T can use the spectrum, in so-called Band 14, for its wireless network when not required for emergency transmissions. "The inclusion of Band 14 came earlier than we expected, is not a huge positive for AT&T, which is deploying multiple spectrum bands at the same time and already has ample low-band spectrum for coverage," Piecyk wrote.
The devices were widely expected to use Intel's XMM 7560 modem and to forgo Qualcomm, as TheStreet reported. Intel was flat on the day of Apple's announcement but gained 1.4% to close at $45.57 on Thursday.
Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon told investors at a July conference that while the company supplies chips for legacy phones, he did not anticipate being in the new iPhones. "My projections are zero for this year, in any other year you ask me the answer is going to be zero," he said.
Shares of Qualcomm got a lift after the company announced $16 billion buyback on Thursday. The stock gained 3.9% Thursday to close at $74.61.
Apple's product launch has ripples beyond the telecom world.
For instance, Jason Mills of Canaccord Genuity suggests that the inclusion of an electrocardiogram function in the Apple Watch bodes well for iRhythm Technologies (IRTC) . The San Franciso company makes the Zio, a monitor affixed to a patch that users wear to monitor their heartbeats throughout the day.
When iRhythm dropped 6.6% on the day of the Apple news, Mills suggested investors buy on the weakness. The stock rebounded 7.2% to close at $96.02 on Thursday.
"Ultimately, we view the addition of ECG monitoring capabilities to AAPL's new watch (along with an overall growing consumer wearable market) as a potential market expander for Zio [and ambulatory ECG] devices, as wearable devices further highlight the benefit of prophylactic monitoring," Mills wrote. The analyst rates the stock a buy, and raised his price from $93 to $100 in a Wednesday note entitled "Who knew the first trillion $ company could do a favor for a small-cap med-tech company?"