T-Mobile Trots Out $0 Down Trade-In Offer Ahead of iPhone 5

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News Posted: Wed, Apr 10 2013 10:51 AM
Continuing with its "un-carrier" theme, T-Mobile on Wednesday announced a special trade-in offer that will make it possible for customers to pick up an iPhone 5 without a down payment. Anyone with an iPhone 4 or 4S can bring in their device and trade up to an iPhone 5, and depending on the condition and trade-in value, they can also receive a credit of up to $120, which can be used toward monthly payments.

"Our message to iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 customers is simple: bring in your device and trade up to iPhone 5 on T-Mobile," said Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile. "We’re making it incredibly attractive to buy an iPhone 5 by pairing an un-beatable upfront price and trade-in offer with Simple Choice, the most hassle-free and affordable rate plan in wireless."

iPhone 5

After failing to merge with AT&T a year ago, T-Mobile switched gears and is now trying to re-invent itself as the un-carrier by doing things differently than the competition. One way in which it has done that is by rolling out simplified pricing plans and selling unsubsidized phones, including the iPhone 5.

Customers who pass a credit check can pick up a 16GB iPhone 5 on T-Mobile for $100 down plus $20/month for 24 months, or for $580 upfront. There's no two-year service agreement to sign, and therefore no early termination fees; customers are only on the hook for the cost of the phone.

T-Mobile's trade-in offer takes a significant bite out of the cost of the iPhone 5, up to $220 when you add the elimination of the down payment and potential credit. It's a smart move by a suddenly aggressive wireless carrier.
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Clixxer replied on Wed, Apr 10 2013 7:00 PM

Wow T-mobile actually trying to help customer I am shocked. Its not a bad deal though atleast if you can pick up an old phone and get the down payment taken care of and pretty much get a new phone and possibly some cash in your pocket. I just still hate the whole pay $100 now but you are on the hook for an extra $20 a month for "two years" which pretty much is a contract since it you do cancel with them you are immediately liable for the rest of the charges for the phone.

Im all for competition and maybe this will help lower prices overall but I just do not see it happening anytime soon.

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True, you would still have to pay for what's left on the phone, but at least you won't get hit with a massive "early termination fee" if you change your mind a few months into it. I read Verizon is watching this to see if T-mobile can make it work.

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 3:37 AM

True, but what if you owe more. You get the Iphone 5 for $100 off at say 580. That is the $20 extra a month. In six months you decided T mobile sucks and you are still on the hook for $360. Yeah you don't have a termination fee but that is still more. I mean if you know you plan on staying with them long term then it works out. Either way they are getting their money back though high priced plans or you not getting a subsidized phone. But if customer are ok with that than more power to them. I do see a benefit if you can buy a phone from another vendor for cheap and just get a tmobile sim card and you are good to go.

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OSunday replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 10:41 AM

This is definitely a game changer and sort of a gamble for T-Mobile as well but I think it'll end up paying off.

Most service providers subsidize phones for lengthy contracts because it's where they can make a majority of their money but by eliminating that from the equation and simplifying pricing it makes the contract aspect of using T-Mobile as your service provider a lot more appealing. It's got a big advantage to customers up front but I'm curious how it'll play out in the long run with upgrades and things that occur at the two year mark but new phones coming out every year.

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 6:44 PM

With no contract you can upgrade anytime as long as your current phone is paid off. You are paying the full price of the phone, its just on a payment plan instead of either a $200 upgrade charge up front, or paying for the whole thing at one time. There should be no reason you cannot upgrade every 6 months if you want to as long as the phone is paid off. 

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