Following yesterday’s report that T-Mobile would begin offering Apple products in 2013, T-Mobile has now clarified the meaning of “Apple products”, and confirmed that they will indeed be carrying the iPhone, making then the fourth and final major U.S. carrier to offer the device.
T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere confirmed that the iPhone will be among the Apple products that T-Mobile sells next year, but he said that T-Mo will sell it in a far different way than other carriers. T-Mobile is eliminating all device subsidies in 2013, requiring new customers to pay full price for their phones up front, buy it on installment or bring their own unlocked devices, Legere said speaking at corporate parent Deutsche Telekom’s Capital Markets Day in Bonn.
Interestingly, T-Mobile has also announced an interesting new pricing policy for all smartphones. The company will no longer offer any subsidies for smartphones (enabling users to buy them cheaper than full price). Instead, they will offer cheaper overall monthly plans, and make up the subsidy by offering the device for cheap (say, $99), and requiring users to pay a monthly premkium of $15-20 per device for 20 months until the device is paid off.
[…] 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.
The decision to eliminate subsidies is VERY significant – it’s the first time a U.S. carrier has done so. And their monthly premium for those looking to pay a lower upfront price for smartphones is very compelling! For T-Mobile’s sake, I hope their customers feel that way as well!
It’s unclear exactly when T-Mobile will begin offering the iPhone – but it’s been a long time coming, and if their new pricing strategy proves effective, it could become a very important factor in the carrier’s overall success in the U.S. mobile market!