Talking tech since 2003

Earlier today at a press conference in New York City, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA, John Legere had something to say with regards to the mobile industry.  And say he did.

This is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense. As America’s Un-carrier, we are changing all of that and bringing common sense to wireless.

Enter the new and improved T-Mobile, America’s Un-Carrier.

T-Mobile’s new “Simple Choice Plan” works as follows, every customer start with one line at $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web with 500MB of high-speed data.  Then customers can add a second phone line for $30 per month, and each additional line is just $10 per month.  Additionally, customers can also add 2 GB of high-speed data for $10 per month more per line or they can go for the unlimited 4G data which is $20 more per month per line.  The unlimited 4G data has no caps and no overage fees.

Now let’s do some math.

  • One phone (for the sake of this post let’s use the iPhone 5) = $99 upfront cost
  • One line with unlimited talk, text, and web (500MB data) = $50/month
  • Add unlimited 4G Data (because you’re going to want it with an iPhone 5) = $20/month
  • Monthly device payments (so T-Mobile can recoup the cost of the phone) = $20/month (for 24 months)

Total First Month’s Payment: $189
Remaining Monthly Payments: $90

It’s also worth noting that at the end of the day (after the 24 months are up), you end up paying $579 for the iPhone 5.  Something to keep in mind.

Overall though, that’s really not a bad deal.  I pay around $90 (after a discount) for my single iPhone 5 (which I paid over $300 for) line with AT&T, with unlimited data (grandfathered in), unlimited texts, but only 450 minutes.

However, since there’s no “contract” to lock you into a phone, T-Mobile does do credit checks on people and you are actually held to the monthly device payment (if you decide to not buy the device outright).  So don’t expect to it to be ok if you stop paying that $20 every month for 24 months for that iPhone 5.

With that said, I do have a question, according to the press release, “With T-Mobile’s un-restricted approach, customers can purchase great devices, pay for them in affordable, interest-free monthly installments, and upgrade anytime they like — not just when their carrier says it’s okay,” so does this mean if you upgrade your phone every year and don’t buy it outright you end up paying $40 in total in device costs? Thankfully it seems that will not be the case.

While you are responsible for the $20 monthly device fee (if you don’t buy it outright) for 24 months, I’ve heard that T-Mobile will be allowing people to trade-in their phones and receive credits towards the new one based on the current market value of the [old] phone.  If that’s the case, that sounds like a pretty good deal.

Of course, you do not have to worry about those device costs if you buy your smartphone outright and just use it on T-Mobile, but that could potentially be pricey upfront.  For example, if you wanted to use a Samsung Galaxy S III on T-Mobile you could purchase it outright for $549 upfront and then just pay $70/month, as compared to buying the Galaxy S III for $99 and adding those $20 device fees to your bill every month for the next 24 months making it total $90/month as we explained before.

T-Mobile also said that in addition to the iPhone 5, they will carry the Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Z10, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy Note II.  Plus, you can always bring your own unlocked phone, too.

Lastly, T-Mobile said that the company is launching its 4G LTE network in seven major metropolitan areas, including Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.  T-Mobile also expects that the 4G LTE network to reach 100 million Americans by midyear and 200 million by the end of 2013.

Will you be switching to T-Mobile? I’m definitely tempted when my contract with AT&T is up, though it also depends on how fast LTE is rolled out to my area.

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