T-Mobile to start offering iPhone 5 on April 12 (Update)

Mar 26, 2013

T-Mobile USA on Tuesday said it will start offering the iPhone 5 on April 12, filling what its CEO said was "a huge void" in its phone lineup.

T-Mobile, the fourth-largest of the national U.S. phone companies, has been losing customers to the bigger companies, which all sell the iPhone.

"This is a big deal for us," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said at an event in New York.

T-Mobile, a unit of Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG, is charging $100 up front for the iPhone 5, then another $20 per month for two years. That's on top of service fees for voice, text and data that start at $50 per month. The total monthly cost starts at $70 per month, a substantial discount to prices offered by bigger companies.

T-Mobile's network has, until recently, not been able to offer high-speed data service to iPhones. It's now able to deliver high-speed data to iPhones in some cities, and it has lured over 2.1 million off-contract AT&T iPhones, executives said Tuesday.

T-Mobile also said it will start selling the Samsung Galaxy S 4 on or around May 1. That's the successor to the Galaxy S III, which has been the chief competitor to the iPhone.

The announcement comes just days after T-Mobile ditched its conventional contract-based plans in favor of selling phones on an installment basis. It's separating the cost of the phone from the service, and when a phone is paid off, usually after two years, the monthly fee for the phone disappears from the billing statement.

On traditional contract-based plans, the buyer is deemed to have "paid off" the phone after a certain period, at which point the customer becomes eligible for a new, subsidized phone. The monthly payments, however, don't decline.

As before, T-Mobile's prices generally undercut those of the bigger phone companies. The chief weakness is that its data network coverage is poorer in rural areas.

"T-Mobile realizes that they have to change the rules of the game, because under the current rules, they're losing, and they're going to continue to lose," said telecommunications analyst Roger Entner at Recon Analytics. He's skeptical that the plans, alone, can change its fortunes.

"Even if they're $5 cheaper, will that be enough? They're already charging a significant discount to Verizon and AT&T, and they're losing customers," Entner said.

Explore further: Electronic gadget for shaking hands over the Internet

1.8 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

T-Mobile gets rid of contracts for cellphones

Mar 25, 2013

(AP)—T-Mobile USA, the struggling No. 4 cellphone company, is ditching plans centered on familiar two-year contracts in favor of selling phones on installment plans.

T-Mobile USA to make data network work with iPhone

Feb 23, 2012

(AP) -- T-Mobile USA on Thursday said it will revamp its wireless data network this year, with the side effect of making it compatible with iPhones and some other smartphones sold by competing carriers.

US carrier offers first iPhone on prepaid plan

May 31, 2012

Cricket Communications said Thursday it would be the first US carrier to offer the iPhone to customers under a prepaid plan, a move expanding the footprint of the wildly popular Apple device.

Tiny US phone company is getting iPhone

Oct 19, 2011

(AP) -- Apple Inc. said Tuesday that C Spire Wireless, the country's eighth-largest phone company, will start selling the iPhone 4S in a few weeks.

Recommended for you

Electronic gadget for shaking hands over the Internet

12 hours ago

Takanori Miyoshi at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology, has developed an innovative gadget that enables people to 'shake hands' over the Internet, irrespective of ...

Ear-check via phone can ease path to diagnosis

Dec 18, 2014

Ear infections are common in babies and young children. That it is a frequent reason for young children's visit to doctors comes as no consolation for the parents of babies tugging at their ears and crying ...

Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

Dec 18, 2014

Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what?

BlackBerry launches Classic in last-ditch effort

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones—and most smartphone customers—have embraced touch screens.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.