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

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.