T-Mobile will sell iPhone via installment plan

T-Mobile USA Inc. will begin selling the iPhone 5 on April 12, letting customers buy the Apple Inc. (AAPL) device via an installment plan that dispenses with the industry’s typical long-term contracts.

Qualifying buyers can get the phone for $99.99 down, plus monthly payments, T-Mobile said today at an event in New York. Service for the phone starts at $50 per month for unlimited calls and 500 megabytes of data.

  • Genius.

    In the vein of “cheap phones” (low cost options when people walk into the carrier store), how does this change that perspective?

  • Michael Langford

    But do they have a HSPA+ or LTE network to give 4g on?

    • LTE.

    • Td

      The T-Mobile iPhone 5 will support HSPA+ on AWS, so you’d get “4G” in many places, “4G LTE” in a few places (7 markets right now).

  • Adam

    They’re getting close, but this still isn’t as cheap as some of the prepaid MVNOs like Straight Talk, H2O, or AirVoice Wireless.

    • True, but this isn’t an MVNO. This is a primary carrier, which means network prioritization and roaming agreements. Overall, you should be expect better network performance than from a T-Mobile MVNO reseller. Plus, there are no MVNOs that offer truly unlimited, uncapped data. Any that advertise such a plan almost always ship with a caveat that isn’t well advertised.

  • i wonder what a 2GB data plan would run.

  • They need a better network though. That is what is killing most of the competition to Verizon and AT&T.

    • Do you think the MetroPCS merger will help?

      • I hope so, as it is I know too many people who go back to the big two. More competition is needed but how, right? The towers are the stumbling block. I guess to know for sure, in your area, you would have to check coverage for each and overlap them.

  • Michael

    Hope this goes well for them and prods AT&T and Verizon to fall in line with similar pricing models.

  • Winski


    • Not entirely true. T-Mobile has been refarming it’s 1900mhz band for about a year now to make it’s 4G network compatible with the iPhone. What isn’t supported is AWS, which is T-Mobile’s primary network at 1700/2100. Existing iPhones WILL work on their 4G network in certain areas, but won’t have full compatibility.

      • Winski

        Better said… Still, having dumped a grand into an un-locked phone less than 4 months ago and now it is not fully compatible on the network it was purchased for is a HUGE BUMMER.

        • Sorry to hear about that, man :(. I would have put myself in the same situation a couple of months ago if the Nexus 4 didn’t finally return to the Google Play store. However, it’s still an iPhone and it should still work. Maybe you could sell it and purchase a T-Mobile version at the financed price.

          • Winski

            Gotta try something!!! This really grates me the wrong way….AARRGGHHhhhhhh..

    • Fraydog

      It isn’t Apple’s fault you way overpaid. Still you can get lots of value back by selling the old and getting new. You seen what iPhones run on eBay?

  • I’ve been using a Nexus 4 on T-Mobile’s network for a few months now, using their $30 100min/5gb 4G data plan. Where I live in Los Angeles, it works beautifully. I was tempted to get an unlocked iPhone at one point, but the lack of AWS support and the high price tag swayed me towards the Nexus (which I love, by the way).

    What’s crazy is the finance option actually costs LESS than if you buy the iPhone outright. You can pay off the phone over the course of two years and save yourself at least $70 from retail. The iPhone will be locked to T-Mobile until you pay off the balance, which is fair, but you’re not locked into a super-expensive two-year contract for service that you’re not happy with.

    These are simple, consumer-friendly plans with the lowest upfront cost for Apple’s iPhone 5 of any carrier in the United States. I really hope T-Mobile is successful, as this might push AT&T and Verizon to follow suit, both of which have been price gouging us for services for way too long. Good luck, T-Mobile. I’m a happy customer. =)

  • It’s the 4th biggest distributor, what about for Sprint, AT&T and Verizon?