Just as expected, T-Mobile, the last major US carrier to sell the iPhone, will begin selling the device on April 12th. T-Mobile customers will be able to purchase a 16GB iPhone 5 for $100 down, and 24 months of $20 payments strapped to the backend. However, as an attempt to differentiate themselves from other carriers, if the customer pays off the phone after 24 months, their monthly service bill will see a drop. Other carriers continue to charge the same rates even after the device subsidy has been paid off.
Here in the US, T-Mobile will be the only carrier taking advantage of the iPhone 5′s Wideband Audio support; T-Mobile will be branding the feature as “HD Voice”, and with early impressions already in, it seems that voice quality is notably improved over standard cellular call quality.
The carrier will also be offering the iPhone 4S for $70 down and $20 per month for 24 months, and the iPhone 4 for $15 down and $15 per month for 24 months. I suspect the iPhone 4, regardless of how much marketing and logic you throw at the customer, won’t sell as well on T-Mobile’s network simply because customers can get the device on other networks for “free”, even though they will pay more for service over time. I digress.
As for the service plans, T-Mobile will be charging $50 a month for unlimited talk, text and 3G data, and 500MB of 4G data. From there customers can add 2GB of 4G data for an extra $10 per month per line, or they can pay $20 per month per line for unlimited 4G data. T-Mobile’s 4G LTE service is now live in Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.
According to early impressions, T-Mobile’s LTE service is “impressive”, with Engadget routinely seeing good performance across several devices. Engadget also answers a few lingering questions. First, if a customer purchases an “Uncarrier” phone and later cancels service, they must buy out the phone or trade it in. Customers can continue to make monthly payments on the device. Also, T-Mobile traditionally offers WiFi calling between T-Mobile customers, which allows for voice calls to be made through any WiFi hotspot. This feature is currently not available on the iPhone 5, but could potentially be put in place at a later date.