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T-Mobile USA to begin selling iPhone on April 12 for $99, no contract

T-Mobile USA to begin selling iPhone on April 12 for $99, no contract

As previously reported, the iPhone is finally coming to T-Mobile USA. The iPhone 5 will launch on the carrier on April 12, for the price of $99 without a contract. The iPhone 5 will be compatible with T-Mobile’s LTE network, which launches today in seven cities nationwide. T-Mobile USA president and CEO John Legere said this about the launch:

“This is an important day for people who love their iPhone but can’t stand the pain other carriers put them through to own one,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA. “We feel their pain. I’ve felt the pain. So we’re rewriting the rules of wireless to provide a radically simple, affordable iPhone 5 experience — on an extremely powerful network.”

T-Mobile's iPhone 5 uses 4G LTE in the AWS spectrum, HSPA 42+ in AWS, as well as 1900 MHz.

T-Mobile USA has been the only major U.S. carrier without the iPhone since the iPhone 4S debut on Sprint in 2011. Customers paying $99 for the iPhone up front will pay $20 per month after that for 24 months, though again, they won’t be bound by a contract. In addition to the iPhone 5, T-Mobile will also be offering the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, starting at $69 and $15, respectively.

Source: T-Mobile

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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There are 83 comments. Add yours.

jward3213 says:

I thought it said $20 a month for 5 months, not 24 months.

jward3213 says:

$99 is only the downpayment for the device, you will still have to pay a monthly fee of up to $20 a month for five months.

BrianTufo says:

Again...it is NOT for 5 months. It's $20/month for 24 months which makes phone $579.

Premium1 says:

Wonder how this will work if you leave after x months with still having payments left on the device?

sting7k says:

You have to keep paying the payments for your device but your service payments are terminated.

OrionAntares says:

You have to pay off the device, either in full or by completing the required number of payments per month. Basically you are buying the phone on an installment plan instead of being stuck to a contract. The catch is that the phones are going to be locked to T-mo and they've said right now that they won't unlock them for you if you are stall making payments.

wamadden4 says:

Yeah no thanks. I'll stick with my Verizon iPhone 5. Faster LTE and much better coverage. T-Mobile is for cheap people. You pay for what you get and this is true in this instance.

metllicamilitia says:

T-Mobile is affordable and this gets more customers so they can build a bigger network which they don't have right now because of the mentality you just spewed out of your keyboard.

raremage says:

While true, you're talking about customers, not investors. It's not the customers' responsibility to put up with sub-par coverage while their monthly fees fund network growth.

Premium1 says:

No customers go where they will have service. Why suffer for a network that the parent company wanted out of the US market with anyway? They have a ton of spectrum and money now that the att merger failed so I will see if they put it to good use or just sit on it and not improve their poor coverage everywhere that isn't a major metro. I would switch if they at least covered all their edge network with 3g...

jorge2363 says:

I have to agreed with you on this one, although I have a Sprint 4S (which is not that bad). No contract, great,,,, international calls for low price, magnificent,,,, but at what cost? Losing service all the time. Or not having coverage at all.
I just hope that the i5s or i6 runs faster on Sprint LTE, for when I get my upgrade.

mazzmoney95 says:

Alright stick with having a 2GB cap on LTE and continue to pay out your ass (both up front and over the course of your plan). I mean, if you live in a city with bad T-Mobile service then fine, but if you live in a place with good service like me (especially one of the cities getting LTE), you would be a fool to not have T-Mobile.

angermeans says:

I live in SLC and still had problems with tmo in certain areas I should have had great coverage. You still don't have anywhere near the network that Verizon or AT

BrianTufo says:

This just means more people can buy iPhones now which is great for Apple. I'm sure Wall Street will say Apple is doomed now though.

metllicamilitia says:

And they also get the GS4 and HTC One, which I was just saying would awesome if they got since they have the Blackberry Z10 too. Now they just need a flagship Windows Phone and people will seriously consider switching to save money and have great phones and contently wait for coverage expansion (if needed by them).

Kevin_STLTechTalk says:

Not a flagship like the Lumia 920, but the HTC 8X is no slouch for Windows Phone fans.

cheryl64 says:

what is the $20 a month for?

sting7k says:

Payments on the device you bought from them; Interest free I might add.

threepio says:

Cuz you pay interest when you buy it from other carriers....

Mac58 says:

Well that depends on your defintion of interest.
Lets say you bought a iphon 5 with tmobile and your friend a iphone 5 with sprint. After 4 years you both still have your phone and your friend will still be paying the same cost for service, you however would have been saving $20 a month for 2 years ($20x 24=$480)

So interest no, but you definitely pay more money with other carriers regardless of if you have paid off your device in your 2 year contract duration. Just some food for thought

sting7k says:

AT&T has 1 year to make me an offer that I can't refuse. Otherwise looks like the end of our relationship.

CORYK333 says:

I'm sure they'll be crunching #s all year just to retain you...........

Dionte says:

I like the no contract part, you could sell the old phone, pay it off and easily get the new hotness when it comes out.

Kevin_STLTechTalk says:

This is a very nice aspect of it. Pay it off early, sell it and put the money towards the latest and greatest.

doogie125 says:

You need to think of the phone costing $579, which you get to pay for over two years. I have not read the fine print, but it seems logical that despite being "no contract" for service, you are still going to pay $579. It seems very unlikely that they're going to let somebody walk in, plunk down $99, take their iPhone 5 out the door and immediately call T-Mobile and say, "So long, thanks for the $99 phone, suckers."

Still, I imagine that $579 is less than the effective price you're paying for a subsidized iPhone at the other carriers. Also, Cricket has the iPhone 5 for $449, after rebate, but you have to pay it all up front.

Kevin_STLTechTalk says:

If someone does that, T-Mobile will blacklist that device from easily being able to be reactivated.

gameson says:

anyone know what iPhone model does T-Mobile carries? Is it the same AT&T model A1428? Or the International GSM model A1429?

As you can see below, AT&T LTE can only works in the US, while international model works everywhere else

Vanti says:

T-Mobile is going to officially offer a revised international version. i believe it will be the a1428
But i can sum it up very clearly
Att Ip5 gets Hspa+ 21 Mbs and Lte on t-mobile
T-Mobile Iphone 5 get Hspa+21, Hspa+42 and Lte on T-mobile..

That is the only difference between the two one has Hspa+42 and one does not.

LCW says:

it's got to be a unique one... the current A1428 or A1429 don't do AWS, at least not per the specs... maybe the bands are in there and Apple hadn't revealed it yet...

"T-Mobile's iPhone 5 uses 4G LTE in the AWS spectrum, HSPA 42+ in AWS"

maybe it will be A1430

romsas says:

Ok so here's something you forgot to mention - As for iPhone 5 plans on T-Mobile, the company will offer just one Simple Choice Plan that starts at a base $50 per month for unlimited talk and text and 500MB of data. So that $20 for the phone for 24 months + $50 for the data per months, so far you're paying $70 per months with very little data usages and not so great phone coverage and if you go over that more money to pay, no thanks especially for a company with poor phone coverage.

emjayess says:

Thanks so much for your analysis! That's really the sort of thing should have been included in the article--c'mon, iMore, let's step it up a bit.

SoggyTempura says:

Or... pay the baseline $50 / month then add $20 / month for "unlimited" 4G, plus the $20 / month for the phone. $90 / month is less than any of the other major carriers and you get a phone and "unlimited" 4G data with it. However, like you said, you get what you pay for.

ame says:

look forward to seeing how this changes the game.

dcb2891 says:

It is nice to see T-Mobile being a part of the iPhone game. The more options the better. I think the t-mobile data services will be nice on the iphone 5. I have used a friends iPhone 5 on t-mobile's no contract services and it was very fast and reliable in our area.

west3man says:

I'm not sure that T-Mobile's coverage is as great as I'd like it to be but Sprint's is sh!t.

If TMo's LTE is decent enough in the areas I frequent, maybe that'd be a nice alternative to AT&T (where I'm trying not to go).

czhDavid says:

It is basicly just a loan

wHoKares says:

Let me begin with.. Finally!! From what I am seeing t-mobile saves you about $1,000 compared to ATT. So that is a Pro. Now on to a con the iPhone will be locked to t-mobile until you fully pay it off. That kind of sucks but then again it still gives the customer more freedom than ATT. I guess in the coming months we shall see how this will impact the mobile service company.

mdub311 says:

I like the fact that once you've paid off the subsidy, you're monthly plan cost is reduced. Unlink the other carriers, you are still paying for the subsidy even if you're out of contract. I was out of contract with AT&T for 2 years but I was still paying for a subsidy that I didn't want or need. This gives people a lot of options. Want to keep the same phone for 4 or 5 years? Great! You'll pay a ton less over that span than if you were to do the same with Verizon, Sprint or At&t. The subsidy model is broken and we are encouraged to upgrade every 2 years or earlier. Techies want to upgrade every year or sooner, but most Americans are fine using a perfectly good phone until it dies. My parents for example don't need or want the latest "new hotness" that comes out. Not everyone needs or wants to do that, so T-Mobile is changing the game for the better. I applaud this move.

ethanwc says:

People VERY rarely keep a phone for more than two years.

avmsam says:

may have taken a while, but a AWS iphone is finally here. i'm still not clear on if there is now another model of iphone to the already a1428 and a1429(gsm&cdma) or not ?

kch50428 says:

It's being reported elsewhere that this is an enhanced 1428 model... and No, a software update to existing 1428 model phones will not magically enable AWS on them... and it's also being reported that future AT&T 1428s will be the enhanced as well.

Winski says:

Here's a potential problem... We that have bought an un-locked iPhone 5 OR are on AT&T with an iPhone 5 that would move over to t-mobile CANNOT USE THEIR EXISTING 4G HIGH-SPEED HSPA NETWORK ON 1700....IPHONE5 DOES NOT SUPPORT THIS FREQUENCY FOR THE MODEL A1428. WE'RE SCREWED !!!

Guy4Tech says:

Cheaper rates, sure! See how that works when you have no bars... Ill pay more for reliable coverage.

saichick04 says:

This no contract sounds just like a contract to me. I mean yay for paying $99 to start but like you all have mentioned plus $20 a month for... 20 months.. Now in a normal contract wouldn't you be eligible for an upgrade about the time that 20 months is up? What do you do when you go to Tmobile and say well the Tmobile is cool but since I'm not on a contract I'd like to port my number out. Leaving you paying for the iPhone until its paid off. I see that as a HUGE ETF! I say if its what you can afford at the time go for it but if you can save your pennies buy an unlocked iPhone and get a tmobile pay as you go sim or straight talk. Or just come on over to Verizon. They love taking your money. Or is it just my money they like to take? Nah, it has to be everyone's money.

saichick04 says:

Correction: 24 months... A length of a contract lol.

shinuyuki says:

I love the new plans that they are interesting; however, the fact that you are limited to only their frequency. The international phones are better. I do not want to be pigeonholed into just using T-Mobile, or just AT&T. You gain so much freedom; however, their coverage is spotty and incredibly small compared to the footprint of AT&T and the massive giant footprint of Verizon. This will change over time so I have no idea how this might pan out.

quamdar says:

GREAT idea on TMobile's part in my opinion!

Hopefully AT&T and Verizon feel the pinch and have to up their game that much more to retain customers.

Davyo says:

It might be 20 months not 24 months,,,, TM usually is 20 months for financing,,, I could be wrong but 20 would seem more likely as that's what TM has always done in the past.

I for one am very happy I switched to TM a few months ago,, when I was with VZ and ATT my bills were crazy high (average 120.00 a month),,,, since going with TM my bill has been 70.00 a month unlimited everything and that includes the 20 month financing for my Note 2.


Ryan Ruben says:

To me they really are advertising "no buyout" but they really have a buyout in place, effectively.

Davyo says:

Yep,,,, I was right,,, 20 months,,,,, not 24 months.


asuperstarr says:

Good to hear the tmobile subscribers are getting the iPhone. This is more people that I can iMessage on my devices!

lbaxter says:

Seeing as how the best feature the iPhone 5 brought to the table was LTE speeds, T-Mobile will still have a hard time swaying current iPhone 5 users on other carriers that utilize LTE in their area.

AdrianGabeChen says:

this is great. no contract and all you are doing is paying of the phone

halhiker says:

The best thing about this is that the other carriers are probably going to follow suit in some respect or risk losing customers once their contracts are up. Hopefully, that'll mean lower prices all around.

anthonyjpv says:

This is a genius business model. No contract means people who are afraid to be tied down can sign up and avoid that fear, but end up paying a premium. Who -actually- cancels their cellphone plan? Not a large part of people. But this way, instead of subsidizing the phone costs, they're actually just forcing MOST people to pay for it. IN ADDITION to their plan.
Sure you can cancel, but will you really? You'll end up having to sign up for a contract...the very thing you tried to avoid.

Mariam936 says:

Does the phone come unlocked?

NetMage says:

Not until after it is fully paid for.


I'm just happy tmobile finally gets the iPhone.. It's been far to long but I SOOO welcome the competion and I can't wait to get mine :)

Analog Spirit says:

It looks like I switched from AT&T back to T-Mo at just the right time. I'm actually considering getting one of these (iPhone 5) when it comes out.

tooicecool says:

wow so cheap iphone here cost x10 more

collegehooligan says:

haha wow I was about to run out to T-Mobile right now and camp outside their store!! I was wondering how in the world they could sell a contract-free iPhone 5 for less than the 2-year price on all other carriers. This is pretty clever and convenient for consumer on T-Mobile's part. I really feel like they are the mobile carrier of the future.

NetMage says:

I think calling this no contract is misleading - you either pay $579 or you have a contract to pay $20 per month for 24 months - it's not a carrier contract, but its still a contract.

girish bhari says:

it would have been better it was a one down payment of 99 and nothing else .nevertheless good one.we humans not satisfied by what they are giving at.

Bionicsix says:

If you build it.
It will come.
iPhone in the tZone!

Jaguarr40 says:

Consumer choice is good, Me personally I will stick with Verizon. TMOs choice plans the way they seem to be constructed appears to me that there is more than meets the eye and even if not, 7 LTE cities to start seems low. I just like Verizon and have no issues with them.

alphalife says:

The actual cost of the device is not $99 but $579 by the time you finish paying it off. Overall this still ends up costing more than Sprint plans.

remipmc says:

Has anyone verified what version this $99 + $20 for 24 months is? I assume this is the 16GB version, what would the 32 or 64 versions run you per month? I have 4 lines with sprint, all 32GB iPhones for $225 per month ($13 discount so actually $238 for anyone else). under new t-mo pricing I would pay 4 lines (50+30+10+10) + Unlimited Data (4x20) = $180 before any 2 year payment plan. Tack on at least another (4x$20) for their iPhone and that brings it to $260 per month for 2 years, and I assume that's for 16GB versions. For me, it's a wash because I would have to keep the phone too long in order to reap the savings.

Kevin_STLTechTalk says:

I would be very surprised to see them only carry a 16GB model. I am thinking each storage bump will be similar to the regular price increases. Likely a 32GB for $199 and a 64GB for $299.

Have yet to see actual numbers though.

rewNATION says:

looks like i might have to drop verizon and try this out. especially that they're going to drop my grandfathered unlimited data when i renew

extol4000 says:

I think the new pricing (phone

Jay Mobile says:

What people are missing is that this is a great thing for us consumers. Just today I called AT&T to see how much would it set me back to leave and they bent over backwards to get me to stay by giving me free mobile to mobile and unlimited texting and last but not least favorite 5 (or whatever it's called for AT&T) b/c I was considering going the prepaid route. The tmobile announcement will force other carriers to match or come up with a better pricing scheme. The rep (not the regular rep but the one you speak with when you want to cancel your contract thats where the real power lies) even told me that they will most likely come out with new promotions to combat tmobile. Point is whether you like tmobile or not this move ultimately helps us the consumer who have been getting ripped off for way too long

rewNATION says:

i just tried this with verizon and they weren't having any of it. i was hoping i could at least get unlimited texting out of it. i'm still leaving anyway for t-mobile

Jay Mobile says:

WoW thats surprising AT&T didn't even put up a fight when I called in. Now I think of it I probably could have squeezed them for a little more but I am satisfied. Did you talk to a regular rep or the department that handles cancellations?

rewNATION says:

no idea, but i'm fed up with verizon anyway

Dark_Blu says:

$99 down and around $100 a month with taxes and regulatory fees for unlimited talk+text+web+ $20 a month for the phone versus $120.56 a month and I could use my T-Mobile phone in Germany without roaming wallet robbery fees (Sprint)? And the iPhone is unlocked?? T-Mobile is on to something here.... I heard it's $199 down for a 32 GB iPhone. That is SWEET!!

KirkCameron says:

It can be to ones advantage, like I'm a disabled veteran, now to pay $500+ at once is a lot, but I and a lot of others can pay more than $20/month just not the full amount.
I'm gonna do this and pay off the iphone5s/6 in 2-3 months instead of 24. Then it'll be unlocked.

KirkCameron says:

It'd be nicer if tmobile allowed ya to unlock your phone after 6 months, you still gotta make the $20 payment or they blacklist the device or while you're under the 2 year loan they can access an app or such that allows them to block service, any service, wifi included...or something like that.

Tmobile could make money in markets they'll never touch via selling unlocked top tier smartphones able to work on atnt for people who will never leave atnt whether because they have a free work line or family pays bill,lol, or other...to jump carrier when a better deal springs up...

Jeules83 says:

I can't wait to get my hands on tmobiles iphone!!

StephenDavis says:

This is exciting, hopefully it will help male the other companies compete with similar plans.

aznhomieboi1689 says:

What the heck? What happened to T-Mobile regular plans? No more phone discounts? We have to pay full for the phone? So $60/month + $20/month for the phone? Isn't that pretty expensive?