The fourth-largest US carrier T-Mobile has finally announced availability of the iPhone 5, bringing it to customers stateside on 12 April. T-Mobile is the last of the big-four carriers to carry Apple's beloved handset, and in doing so, is offering a radically different way customers can pay for it.
Speaking at a media event in New York City, T-Mobile painted itself as the "UnCarrier" by wanting to "stop the bullshit" when it comes to the way customers pay for their smartphones.
T-Mobile will be carrying the iPhone 5 slightly differently from what is offered by the competition. It won't force customers to sign a two-year contract, instead they'll have to pay full price for it at time of purchase or pay $99 (£65) up front with $20 a month in payments for the next 24 months. That will round out to $579 over two years, or $70 cheaper than Apple's unlocked version. Once the payment period is up, the phone is unlocked and yours to take to any carrier.
READ: Apple iPhone 5 review
Similarly, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 will be made available on the network. The iPhone 4S will cost customers $70 down and $20 monthly for the next two years, and the iPhone 4 will be a mere $15 down with $15 monthly payments. Both will be available only in "select markets".
T-Mobile's iPhone 5 will run on its new LTE network that has begun rolling out in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose and Washington DC. Another 100 million people are expected to be covered by mid-2013, with 200 million falling under the LTE blanket by the end of the year. Interestingly, the T-Mobile variant of the iPhone will be the first to feature "HD voice," offering clearer voice communication. Wi-Fi calling is also expected later this year.
With the introduction of the iPhone and LTE, the announcements didn't stop for T-Mobile - its ultra-cheap plans were also announced. Along with unlimited texting and voice, users will have the choice between $50 a month for 500MB of data, $60 a month for 2.5GB of data, or $70 a month of unlimited data. It's worth noting this is entirely month to month, not locking a customer into any contract.
Speaking at the event, the carrier also talked Android. T-Mobile said it expected the Samsung Galaxy S4 to drop "around 1 May" - giving a tentative date that is subject to change. The new HTC One and Samsung Galaxy Note II will also hit the carrier this spring, and potential buyers will be happy to know both handsets will take advantage of T-Mobile's new UnCarrier pricing.
The UnCarrier pricing is radically different from what other carriers offer in the US. But T-Mobile's pricing has been heard of in Europe, where Three offers similar. Still, T-Mobile is moving in the right direction for the folks stateside.
What do you think of the new T-Mobile?