T-Mobile USA definitely getting the iPhone, may sell it with new pricing model
The iPhone is indeed coming to T-Mobile USA. While it was announced earlier today that the fourth-place mobile carrier in the U.S. would start carrying Apple products in 2013, there was no confirmation of the iPhone. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said at Deutsche Telekom’s analyst conference that starting in 2013, T-Mobile would sell all phones, including the iPhone, on their unsubsidized Value Plans. These plans have lower rates than subsidized plans, while selling the phones at a higher initial price.
Seeing as the unsubsidized iPhone 5 starts at $650, this might seem like an odd move, because, though it would be cheaper in the long run, people are more inclined to pay larger amounts of money over time if they can get a low up front cost. But T-Mobile might have a plan for that. Kevin Fitchard reports for GigaOM:
But T-Mobile has something up its sleeve. Legere said that T-Mobile would offer the iPhone in a unique way. He implied that T-Mobile could heavily finance the device, selling it for $99 and then charging $15 to $20 a month in payments over 20 months. That kind of financing plan, however, would look very much like subsidized contract plan to the customer.
A date for availability of the iPhone on T-Mobile USA has yet to be announced. It could be that Apple wants T-Mobile to have its LTE network up and running, before they carrier launches the iPhone, and that is slated for the latter half of 2013. If T-Mobile is able to sell an LTE-enabled iPhone where the new model starts at $99, they will have set themselves apart from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, something that it desperately needs to do. They may not make as much money per phone as the other carriers, but if they can attract enough customers with pricing, then that may not be much of an issue. We’ll have to wait and see when the iPhone launches on T-Mobile USA sometime next year.