My wife and I wanted our new iPhone 13s as soon as possible, so we ordered them from Apple last Friday at 7 AM Central (when order-taking began). Though it killed me, we paid full retail (though I used my Apple Card and got 3% cash-back).

I heard all mobile carriers had significant incentives for iPhone 13 models, so I visited the T-Mobile website to explore their deals.

Things Looked Promising at First…

Things looked promising at first: The 1TB iPhone 13 Pro Max offered “Up to $1,000 off with trade on Magenta MAX,” while the 512GB iPhone 13 offer was, “On us with Magenta MAX with trade.”

So, I was curious about Magenta MAX and how it differed from our current Magenta plan.

As far as I could tell, the Magenta MAX plan was the same as our current Magenta plan, but with unlimited premium data and 40GB of mobile hotspot data instead of the 100GB of premium and 5GB of hotspot data in our current plan. It cost $5 a month (per line) more than our current plan, but I often exceed our current data allocation so I wouldn’t mind unlimited premium and more hotspot data, even if it cost us $5 a month per line.

So far, so good. Before placing our order with Apple, we considered trading in one or both of our iPhones but decided they were worth more as spares or hand-me-downs than the $310 Apple offered for the pair.

I couldn’t find trade-in prices on the T-Mobile website, but thought they’d appear during checkout. I couldn’t find anything about adding AppleCare+, either, but since you can add it for up to a year after purchase, I was ready to buy two phones as soon as I figured out how much of that “up to $1000 off” my iPhone X was worth, and how “on us with Magenta MAX with trade” would work for Lisa’s iPhone 8.

Not to worry…

When I tried to order them, however, I got an error message: “Sorry, we’re unable to process this request online as additional changes may be required for your account. Not to worry, one of our Experts will be happy to help. To complete this request, please contact Customer Care by calling 1-800-937-8997, or by dialing 611 from your T-Mobile phone.”

Rather than calling, I visited my local T-Mobile store to clarify my understanding of Magenta MAX pricing, determine trade-in prices for our current iPhones, and order a couple of iPhone 13s if the price was right.

It took nearly two hours to clarify (most of which our salesperson spent on the phone with HQ), but in the end, the prices were not much better (if better at all). Furthermore, T-Mobile’s phones don’t ship until October 6-13 (vs. September 24 for the ones we ordered from Apple).

Bottom line: Caveat emptor—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There is one more thing…

Unlimited means unlimited where I come from...

Unlimited means unlimited where I come from…

I recently saw this ad and couldn’t help thinking AT&T is still trying to sell an alternative description of the word “Unlimited.”

At least these days AT&T admits to its deception (albeit in fine print).

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