T-Mobile Looks to iPhone for Subscriber Boost

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Following Thursday's news that some Apple products will be available on T-Mobile's network in 2013, the cell service provider said it is looking to stem the loss of subscribers with the iPhone, and draw in new customers as well. Currently, T-Mobile is the only major cell service provider in the U.S. that doesn't offer Apple's iPhone.

T-Mobile hopes iPhone will stop customer lossesDeutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company, confirmed a deal was in place, stating "T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together next year." T-Mobile backed that up with its hopes that the iPhone will turn around its losses to other carriers, according to Reuters.

T-Mobile may, however, have a hard time convincing new customers to come on board because it will be abandoning subsidized pricing for handsets and instead will roll the full cost in as an extra line item on monthly subscriptions. That is in effect,how subsidized phone prices work, too, but seeing phones listed at full price instead of an artificial discount may be enough to turn potential customers away.

That said, T-Mobile is hoping that not only will the iPhone stop the loss of customers, but will also help show a growth in subscriptions again. "It is an aggressive target but we think it is possible," said T-Mobile USA Chief Executive John Legere.

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I really do not see how people will have a hard time switching to T-Mobile based on T-Mobile abandoning subsidized pricing unless they don’t understand math. T-Mobile’s way of doing things is simply better.

For instance, you can get an unlimited value plan on T-Mobile for $59 a month with a two year contract. On AT&T a comparable plan (without unlimited data mind you) costs about $130 a month. T-Mobile’s plan, however, does not include a phone. So you either bring your own, or buy one from T-Mobile.

If you can’t afford to buy it outright, T-Mobile will buy it for you.

So, let us say you want a $649 16 GB iPhone 5. T-Mobile will buy it from Apple and sell it to you. You will likely pay T-Mobile $199 down like you do on most carriers. Then you will have 20 months to pay the rest of the phone off. That comes out to $22. 50 a month added onto your bill.  So for a little more than $80 dollars a month (the $59 plus the $22.50), you will have a plan that costs over $130 on AT&T that includes the unlimited data that AT&T lacks.

When the phone is paid off, the rate goes back down to the $59. Assuming T-Mobile’s service is good in your area (it is excellent in my area), that seems like a no brainer.



Unlike with AT&T, T-Mobile will also let you us an iPhone on its network without a data plan. So, if you are always around wi-fi and don’t want to pay for data at all you can get an unlimited text and voice package for less than $50 a month. If you want a 500 minute voice plus unlimited text, the price goes down to less than $40 a month. You can’t do that on the big three. You have to have a data plan with them.


Don’t forget the no-contract T-Mobile plans. For people like me who don’t need to talk much, the $30 unlimited data and text with 100 voice minutes is a great deal.

The trade-off with T-Mobile is the data network. No 4G yet, and if you don’t live in one of the cities with iPhone-compatible 3G, you only have Edge speed.



I didn’t forget the no contract plans, which don’t really cost very much more than the value plans. I just focused on the contract value plans because the subsidized plans from the big three all have two year contracts. You, however, solidify the point I was making. You simply have more options on T-Mobile for customization. T-Mobile doesn’t force you to have a data plan at all with your smart phone. That isn’t the case with the other big three carriers. Further, the price even with the phone loan from T-Mobile is still significantly cheaper than with the other guys.

I have been on T-Mobile three years now, and while it is true the iPhone mostly sits on T-Mobile’s Edge network, and occasionally its 3G network, the iPhone 5 is capable of using T-Mobile’s 4G network now if Apple clicks the switch by releasing a firmware update. Moreover, the iPhone is probably the only smartphone currently on T-Mobile’s Edge network and so the speed isn’t horrible.  It is fine for getting email and surfing the web. I can even stream Pandora.


If you buy the handset from the carrier on installment, then it’s basically a subsidy model but unlike AT&T or Verizon, your monthly rate falls once the carrier has recouped the cost of the phone.  So you don’t feel like you’re being ripped off if you don’t upgrade your phone as soon as the upgrade window opens up.  That’s a good deal.

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