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Sprint will become the third U.S. wireless carrier to offer the iPhone, starting with the release of the iPhone 5 this fall, according to a Wall Street Journal report today.

The news will be welcomed by many Sprint customers, but with Verizon and AT&T already offering the iPhone, it appears that  T-Mobile USA will the odd carrier out this holiday, unless the Bellevue-based company’s executives have a surprise up their sleeve.

T-Mobile’s customers stand to inherit the iPhone when (or if) AT&T’s acquisition of the company from parent Deutsche Telekom goes through. But in the meantime, the agreement for T-Mobile USA to be acquired reduces Apple’s motivation to spend time working out a deal with T-Mobile.

In an interesting twist, the WSJ quotes analysts who say that Sprint landing the iPhone could make regulators look more favorably on the proposed $39 billion acquisition, by strengthening Sprint as a competitor. Sprint is opposing AT&T’s proposed deal.

T-Mobile does offer a Micro SIM card that can be used to run unlocked iPhones on its network. And there was a purported sighting of Apple testing the iPhone on T-Mobile’s network earlier this year, but it’s not clear if that was authentic, or meaningful.

At any rate, looks like it’s time to get Carly rehearsing for more ads — minus the digs at AT&T.

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