T-Mobile Has the iPhone, Reports Lines Out the Door
The “their way” part has to do with dumping phone subsidies and long-term contracts, all part of T-Mobile’s rebranding efforts as it builds its LTE network.
“Today has been gangbusters for T-Mobile,” Mike Sievert, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer told AllThingsD Friday. “We experienced lines out the door this morning at nearly all of our almost 3,000 stores nationwide.”
Some “line watchers” noted that later in the day lines were shorter.
The company hopes to attract owners of iPhones on other networks who want to upgrade to a T-Mobile iPhone 5 with an aggressive trade-in program and disruptive lower-priced usage plans.
The big news – with T-Mobile and in favor of Apple – is T-Mobile’s Uncarrier initiative, a plan to wean America off two-year cellular plans.
The initiative requires a $99 upfront payment, followed by $20 a month payments for two years – for just the phone. On top of that, subscribers pay for usage. Would-be subscribers switching from another network with an iPhone 4S to trade in can get an iPhone 5 without paying the usual $99.99 initial payment and will receive a $120 credit toward future bills. Overall, the plan saves subscribers money.
T-Mobile is the last major U.S. carrier to add the iPhone; a small, but important benefit to Apple, according to Forbes. Currently T-Mobile has 33 million subscribers in the U.S., compared to Sprint (NYSE: S) with 56 million, AT&T (NYSE: T) with 107 million, and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) with 115 million.
The next big move for T-Mobile is its merger with MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS). The deal has been in trouble, mainly due to some heel dragging on the part of Metro shareholders.
Reuters, however, reported Monday that MetroPCS Communications had amended the terms for its proposed merger with T-Mobile USA, and asked shareholders to vote for the deal.
The change of heart was precipitated by some deal sweetening on the part of Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile. The amendment “significantly improves” share value for MetroPCS shareholders, according to the Reuters report.
Meanwhile, CNET reported that users who switch to the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile will see several advantages including unlimited 4G FaceTime (with an unlimited plan), a fast HSPA+ 42 backup network if they get bumped off 4G, and support for HD Voice. The phone will not offer Wi-Fi calling, which is a key feature on other T-Mobile phones.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in the other mentioned equities.
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