What’s so bizarre about the mobile phone industry is that manufacturers (Apple, Samsung) are playing offense in growing their market share, while the providers (AT&T, Verizon) are playing defense.

iphone more important than carrierCase in point: T-Mobile announced yesterday it will finally carry the iPhone 5 and customers can pay a $99.99 down payment for the phone with monthly payments after that without signing a contract with T-Mobile.

You might think this is a great marketing strategy for T-Mobile. Maybe so, but think about this. You can’t leave T-Mobile until the phone is paid off. By paying off the iPhone, specifically designed for T-Mobile’s network, in monthly payments you actually have the contract of sorts with the phone, not the carrier.

T-Mobile is reduced to just being the supplier.