Should You Bring Your iPhone to T-Mobile?
Alongside the launch of its contract-free service plans and LTE network, T-Mobile announced it would be offering the iPhone 5 to its customers beginning April 12. The move officially brings the iPhone to all four major U.S. carriers, begging the question: Are you getting a good deal?
Crunching the numbers of the other three major carriers’ unlimited plans shows an extreme difference between contracted plans and those of a prepaid provider. But what about T-Mobile’s new plans?
A truly unlimited T-Mobile plan with a new iPhone 5 will run you $90 per month, $70 for the service and $20 for the phone. The cheapest offer is $50 for unlimited talk and text with a low 500MB of data. T-Mobile’s strategy lowers the upfront cost of the phone to $100 and keeps the phone and service payments separate, allowing customers who buy lower-end smartphones or those bringing their own phones to save.
Those of you interested in switching to T-Mobile most likely have an iPhone though, so you’re looking at a very reasonable $70 per month while other carriers charge upwards of $120 per month. Is that enough to break you from the clutches of the AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon? Let’s consider the possibility.
- No service contract
- Unlimited talk and text (and guaranteed unlimited 2G data) with every plan
- Simple and affordable high-speed data tiers (500MB included, 2GB for $10, unlimited for $20)
- 4G-ready, but LTE limited to 7 major cities (Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Jose, California; and Washington, D.C)
- Unlimited USB tethering and limited hotspot data included free with every plan
Monthly Totals: $50-$70
Looking at its competitors’ prices, T-Mobile’s new plans are certain to make you think about how much you’re paying and if it’s worth the price.
For instance, Verizon’s cheapest individual smartphone plan with access to 4G LTE starts at $100 per month. The only other option is to go prepaid, which starts at $60 for unlimited talk and text with 500MB of data, and forgo access to 4G and 4G LTE.
AT&T and Sprint operate in the same fashion. In order to receive any access to 4G and 4G LTE, you’ll need to be under contract.
If you’re not sure if the service is worth the price you’re currently paying, you owe it to your wallet to weigh your options.
The iPhone 5 was designed with all carriers in mind, so you’re not limited to particular networks, unlike most smartphones. As long as your phone has been unlocked by your carrier or purchased from Apple itself, you’re free to get service from any carrier that will accept your money.
Do your own comparisons using recent bills, carrier offerings, and coverage maps to find out if your area is properly covered. T-Mobile may have made itself the best carrier in terms of deals, but in order to take advantage of the service, you’ll need to live somewhere with proper coverage.