For years T-Mobile has been the odd man out when it comes to offering the iPhone in the U.S. Not anymore: Today T-Mobile, billing itself as the “Uncarrier,” announced it would begin selling the iPhone 5 on its just-launched 4G LTE network beginning April 12.
T-Mobile is selling the iPhone starting at $99 up front, no contract, followed by 20 months of $20 payments on top of monthly pre-paid data plans. This is a sharp contrast to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, which all require two-year contracts after you purchase a subsidized iPhone. You can also purchase the iPhone at full price on T-Mobile and nix the $20 monthly fees.
In addition to the iPhone 5, T-Mobile will begin selling a number of other big-name 4G devices: the Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Z10, Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC One. T-Mobile will also begin selling its own wireless hotspot, the Sonic 2.0 Mobile HotSpot LTE.
T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network will debut in seven major markets: Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. It will cover 100 million Americans by mid-year, and double that by the end of 2013.
T-Mobile’s announcement wasn’t entirely unexpected. Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent company, confirmed in December that T-Mobile would begin selling Apple products in 2013. The carrier also announced that it would launch its 4G LTE network this year. And a report Monday indicated that the iPhone would play a prominent role in today’s “Uncarrier” event.
The iPhone originally launched as an exclusive with AT&T in 2007. Verizon began selling the iPhone 4 in January 2011, and Sprint began selling the iPhone with the launch of the 4S in uphill battle to retain subscribers. The carrier hopes that its “different” approach to selling Apple’s flagship handset — that is, with no contract and no subsidy, with customers merely making a small initial payment paired with charges on top of their monthly service plan.
Is it too little too late? Time will tell, but with each new iPhone that’s announced, it anecdotally seems that more and more are defecting from AT&T to Verizon and Sprint. Now T-Mobile can get a piece of that action, too.
This is pretty good new. My little brother has T-Mobile for his phone and he says he likes their service good enough. He like that they're one of the few phone companies that offer unlimited data with no contracts. ( Don't quote me on that.) I'm not very knowledgable on phones and phone contracts/data plans, so I'm not sure if this is the best deal compared to other deals or companies, but it seems like a great deal to me. I've always wanted an iPhone and with the good word my brother has said on T-Mobile, I might get on through T-Mobile when the iPhone 5 come out when I finally get money for a phone. Though theirs still some good options with other phones I guess, I've always wanted to try an iPhone.
This is a big step for Magenta. They're doing a lot of things that are getting people's attention. Now, I just hope their coverage is good because otherwise, you can hype up all you want and have these great plans, but if you don't have the coverage, people will go where they can use their phone. I love the UNCarrier thing though... I hope others catch on to it.
Just a different perspective on the matter: the iPhone has never been exclusive to any network in Australia, as far as I'm aware. There are laws against exclusivity deals with phones and similar products here, I believe.
The flipside to that is that the handsets aren't subsidised anywhere near as much as in the US. You can pay for one over the course of a 24 months with a contract here to ease the cost, but you still pay more for it in the long run. It's generally $0 upfront and but the cost is combined with the service cost during the contract and you end up paying more than the $199 it would cost in the US. Of course you can buy upfront for $799, but that's a lot more than the $649 US price.
That said, the freedom of choice is well worth the increase in price.
*prices are local prices for the 16GB iPhone 5 models. The same general scenario applies for most phones here.