T-Mobile gains key customers for 1st time in years

NEW YORK (AP) - The iPhone and new pricing plans has helped T-Mobile gain customers under contract plans for the first time in at least two and a half years. It's a major boost for a wireless carrier often dismissed as an afterthought.

Contract customers are the most lucrative for wireless carriers. T-Mobile US Inc. added a net 688,000 contract customers in the April-June quarter, compared with a loss of 557,000 a year ago. In fact, it's the first gain since the fourth quarter of 2010, when T-Mobile started reporting comparable figures.

Part of the boost came because the carrier began selling Apple's iPhone for the first time in April. But T-Mobile also credits new pricing plans. In March, T-Mobile dropped its conventional two-year service contracts in favor of selling phones with installment plans.