T-Mobile to carry the iPhone 5 for $99 up front, with launch of new 'Un-Carrier' plans

T-Mobile, the fourth largest carrier in the U.S., has today announced that it will carry the iPhone 5, as of April the 12th. Up until now, T-Mobile hasn't offered the iPhone, meaning it dropped behind its rival networks, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. The iPhone 5 will start at $99 upfront, coupled with $20 per month in payments. Alternatively, users can choose to purchase the iPhone 5 from T-Mobile for the full price of the handset. The iPhone 5 will be compatible with T-Mobile's new LTE network, and will include HD Voice capabilities. T-Mobile is also selling the iPhone 4S and 4 "in select markets." 

T-Mobile is introducing major changes to how it sells plans to customers, under its new "Un-Carrier" branding. Instead of pursuing users to buy an iPhone with a 24-month contract, T-Mobile offers the handset at full price, or spread over 24 months. A 16GB iPhone 5 will cost the user $99 upfront, followed by $20 per month; this results in the T-Mobile customer paying slightly less than the phone's actual worth. The iPhone 4S will cost $69.99 upfront, followed by $20 per month, while the iPhone 4 comes in at just $14.99, followed by $15/month payments. 

T-Mobile has been unofficially supporting the iPhone for a while now, as long as the iPhone was unlocked. Now, T-Mobile can sell the iPhone from their stores and will be able to easily offer the handset, rather than persuading users to buy an unlocked phone, which usually cost more. Because all four major U.S. carrier offer the iPhone, they will all have to offer a competitive price. T-Mobile hopes that their Un-Carrier initiative will give them the edge; in their words, "We're still a wireless carrier, we're just not going to act like one anymore."

Source: T-Mobile | Image via Apple

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16 Comments

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Assuming T-Mobile is about $20 cheaper per month then AT&T and Verizon, the cost averages out to be the same over a 24 month period? Sounds like cancellation costs might be heftier?

I don't think there is cancellation costs. In reality T-Mobile is doing it cheaper. I just looked at how much an iPhone 4S is a month after buying it out right and it's $90 just for myself. I can cut my wireless bill in half ($160/month with AT&T) by switching to T-Mobile.

If I'm not mistaken T-Mobile offers no more binding contracts. I've been skimming a few articles and their website throughout the day today and it seems like the 24 month payment (0% interest) on the phone isn't even through a binding contract. If you get tired if the phone you can give it back and stop making payments.

Same with their cellular plans, I'm liking the new changes, I was going to be switching to them for my Nexus 4 anyways.

As of now, I'm most likely keeping my iPhone 4S, I don't see any good rumors that will make me want to upgrade to the 5S. So, I'll just bring my phone with me to T-Mobile since I'll be off contract around that time.

The difference there is that the phone you have will not work on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. If your area has been retasked, then you will get 3G speeds on T-Mobile. Anywhere else will be Edge only. This new iPhone 5 will have the required bands to access T-Mobile's high speed network.

I'm pretty sure that AT&T and T-Mobile phones work on each other's network don't they? I thought they both used HSPA+ or maybe that's just the Nexus 4 having a chip that can get both frequencies. /shrug

Dinggus said,
Where do you see that?

If you buy the phone full price I expect it to be SIM free...... Otherwise I would buy somewhere else, again SIM Free, and buy just a plan and a SIM from T-Mobile.

Fritzly said,

If you buy the phone full price I expect it to be SIM free...... Otherwise I would buy somewhere else, again SIM Free, and buy just a plan and a SIM from T-Mobile.


I've bought phones at full price from carriers and they've never been SIM free. I often have to call the carrier and make up some bull**** excuse of how I travel a lot due to my job and if I can't swap SIMs I'll return the phone. That usually forces them to give the code. Though that new law that just passed in the US might have made it a lot harder.

Fritzly said,

If you buy the phone full price I expect it to be SIM free...... Otherwise I would buy somewhere else, again SIM Free, and buy just a plan and a SIM from T-Mobile.

The $99 isn't buying the phone full price. Only when you've finished your $20/month handset payments (separate from service plan) will they unlock it.

Stetson said,

The $99 isn't buying the phone full price. Only when you've finished your $20/month handset payments (separate from service plan) will they unlock it.


Actually the article mention buying it and pay it full price. If it is not SIM free I see no reasons to buy it from T-Mobile.
Said that I am never surprised by what the carriers racketeering is allowed to do here in the US....

Fritzly said,

Actually the article mention buying it and pay it full price. If it is not SIM free I see no reasons to buy it from T-Mobile.
Said that I am never surprised by what the carriers racketeering is allowed to do here in the US....

What is this SIM Free you speak of? Do you mean buying an unlocked phone? If so, if you buy the phone out right, then yes you can ask them to unlock it. Or you can pay $10 on eBay for someone to unlock it.