Deliverance in the form of the iPhone could soon be coming to millions of T-Mobile customers. That's according to Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig, who tells Fortune that "speculation is heightening" that T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telecom will announce plans to carry the iPhone at an event next week.

Analysts are never the most reliable source of news, but T-Mobile's current status as the only noteworthy wireless carrier in the U.S. without the iPhone has long been viewed as untenable. The fourth largest carrier in the nation with 33 million customers, T-Mobile would have solved its iPhone woes last year by merging with original Apple partner AT&T, but that deal ended up being squashed by the feds.

Up until this point, T-Mo has simply balked at paying the high prices associated with licensing the iPhone from Apple. Last year, Sprint shelled out a whopping $20 billion to obtain the rights to sell the popular device for four years.

"Make no mistake about it: We would love to carry the iPhone," T-Mobile CEO Jim Alling said at a conference in Barcelona last week. "However, we want the economies to be right for us."

[Fortune via CNET]

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