After years on the market, T-Mobile will finally be getting the latest iteration of Cupertino’s little “engine that could”. The bigger surprise move is the shift away from a subsidized plan. However, all is not as it seems.
Typically with a carrier, the cost of these complex and costly smartphones is encumbered through the contractual agreement with the consumer. With T-Mobile’s plan, the device’s initial cost will be $99, which is essentially a down payment. The remaining cost of the phone is picked up through a contractual arrangement where the buyer pays $20 over a period of 24 months. The difference is that once that 24 months is up, the consumer’s monthly costs go down. With most other wireless carriers, the subsidy costs continue throughout the lifetime of service.
I know some folks are excited about the prospect of additional carrier options for a 4G LTE device that is near the cutting edge, so I will be curious to see how many adopters and carrier-switchers T-Mobile can pick up when the phone becomes available on April 12, 2013 (pre-orders will begin on April 4, 2013).