T-Mobile, the fourth-largest cellular carrier in the nation, has finally gotten around to offering the iPhone. Sure, it’s probably the fourth-largest carrier because it took so long to offer the iPhone, but as of next month T-Mobile customers will be able to purchase the device without having to unlock one from AT&T. T-Mobile customers can pre-register now to get their phone for the low-low price of $580.
Unlike other carriers that offer huge discounts on devices, T-Mobile is done with subsidies. Customers looking to get an iPhone 5 can put $100 down and then pay $20 per month on top of their service fees over the next two years. That works out to a price tag of $580.
In areas that can support it, T-Mobile will also offer the iPhone 4 and 4S for $15 down $15/month and $70 down and $2o respectively. That puts the iPhone 4 at $375 and the 4S at $550. The bright side is that even though you’re paying more for the unsubsidized phone, you’re paying less for the service.
Since T-Mobile plans start at $50 per month for the usual voice, text, and data services, even with the $20 per month for the phone itself customers could still see savings compared to competitors’ pricing. That’s sort of the whole idea behind ditching the subsidies to begin with.
Other companies figure the cost of the phone into their service since they expect you to be a customer for a few years. By not subsidizing phones, T-Mobile can offer cheaper service. Also, once the phone is paid off you see a decrease in your bill, which is something not offered by other companies.
T-Mobile took some heat for their move to stop offering subsidized phones, but I think it’s an overall good thing for consumers.
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