T-Mobile's plan doesn't handcuff you for two years, but could tie up your new phone for 20 months

T-Mobile's plan doesn't handcuff you for two years, but could tie up your new phone for 20 months
With T-Mobile's major press event addressing all of the bullet points that we had been anticipating, the carrier's decision to step away from the world of two-year contracts and subsidized phones means that smartphone buyers will have another choice when it comes to paying for new phones. Starting with Tuesday's launch of the BlackBerry Z10, next months release of the Apple iPhone 5 (April 12th) and the HTC One, and May's launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the carrier will be testing out how easily Americans will go for the new pricing structure. A country so hooked on subsidies might find it hard to quickly wean itself off of the $199.99 subsidized price of a new phone with a two-year contract.

Whether it is the BlackBerry Z10, Apple iPhone 5, HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4, T-Mobile subscribers will have to plunk down $99 right up front. The rest of the phone's cost is paid off at a rate of $20 per month for 20 months. And while you are not locked into a two-year contract, you are required to continue making payments on the payment plan until the phone is paid off. One important thing to understand is that whichever phone you buy, it will be locked to T-Mobile until you pay it off. This is what makes the whole no-contracts arrangement work because after all, the company does have to guard itself against those looking to take advantage of it.

By locking down each phone on the EIP (Equipment installment Plan), T-Mobile is protecting itself against someone paying $99 for, say, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and then leaving T-Mobile for another carrier. After you pay off the phone, T-Mobile will be more than happy to unlock the handset. On the other hand, if you do buy a phone from T-Mobile, you personally might not be handcuffed to the mobile operator, but your phone will be until the balance owed on the device is zero.

source: Engadget

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32 Comments

1. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

So in a way its still a contract and TMO is still subsidizing your phone until YOU pay it off.

2. dragonscourgex

Posts: 307; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

That's how I seeing it. Pretty much the same as now, just done a different way. You are free to leave and go to another carrier..but you still are paying T-Mo for the phone. So, in a way, it is slightly better then the current model.

9. Aeires unregistered

Or buy a phone on your own instead of through T-Mobile. I walked into a T-Mo store with N4 in hand, wasn't a problem.

13. MEeee

Posts: 425; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Single line, you'll pay $70/month (500MB-bring your own phone) instead of $50/month (500MB-buy full price at Tmobile). $60/month (500MB-bring your own phone) for each line for family.

25. designerfx

Posts: 76; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

not only that, but you can pay the phone on your own payment plan. want it to be 7 months, unsubsidized? no problem! This 20month lockin is just for people who are bad with math. I'm not okay with that, but at least you have alternatives even within Tmo.

20. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

Thats funny i get a down vote for stating the obvious. Some people on this site are so childish that they just down vote for the fun of it. Here is an idea for everyone....instead of being immature why dont you bring some facts to counter my argument.

29. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

They're not subsidizing your phone - they're financing it. Big difference.

31. lovenyc8

Posts: 164; Member since: Mar 13, 2013

you can pay the phone one time like most people buy iphones of ebay they pay one time so its not like contract

3. menny07

Posts: 89; Member since: Dec 13, 2012

There's always a catch, isn't there. ;)

4. Stelth3d

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

waste of time, just buy a phone without a contract and use a credit card to pay for it, pay $20 a month on a credit card and raise your credit score. not locked in a contract and not locked to phone either. Stupid T-mobile, $20 a month for 20 months plus $100 down equals $500. Most phones with out contracts are about that cost, so whats the point.

6. jlsmarts

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

@Stelth3d Exactly. The "Equipment Installment Plan (EIP)" only benefits T-Mobile unless the non-EIP price is higher than the manufacturer's MSRP. Ex. Samsung GS 4 is $499.99 w/ T-Mo's EIP vs. $799.99 non-EIP. The Samsung GS 4's suspected MSRP= $699.99

8. Stelth3d

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

and your still using t-mobile service which sucks, they need to give that chick in there commercials a faster bike.

17. suneeboy

Posts: 201; Member since: Oct 02, 2012

So that you don't have to drop the money down up front. Then you get a cheap plan and you pay off the phone with your plan...still saves money. Or if you're not a broke or cheap ass you can just buy the phone.

19. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

I don't think that's really worth it... with the interest on the credit card... I think paypal might be a better choice, they offer 0 interest if you pay off in how many months.

21. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

The point is people want things now and they're offering them a way to do that. It's not the smartest way, but it is the quickest if you're low on funds. Saving up and buying it outright makes too much sense for some people to handle.

26. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Exactly. That's how things g in India where we do get Interest free EMI for as long as 12 months most popular being 3,6,9.

28. jcpwn2004

Posts: 314; Member since: Jan 18, 2012

in the US most people are horrible at managing their money and can only think short term and not big picture. Seeing the iphone 5 for 99$ is a lot more alluring than seeing it for 600$.

5. WirelessCon

Posts: 311; Member since: May 11, 2010

Nexus 4 on T-Mobile, and why not? They won't throttle you down to HSPA cause that's all the phone has. Unlimited $50. Tempting, but T-mobile's coverage is lacking.

7. akz1112

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 24, 2013

??? It's 70$ for unlimited data. $50 plan get throttle after 500mb.

10. Stelth3d

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

yeah i pay $180 for verizon with an iphone 4, GS3, and Galaxy 4g tab. Unlimited calling and 4gb data each. No throttling that i can see. Thats $60 a device. WIN and WIN, Go Verizon

27. Courtimus

Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 03, 2012

That's 4gb data total... $70 for the data, $40 access for each smartphone, $10 for tablet, $20 bucks or so for taxes?

16. MEeee

Posts: 425; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

$50 if you buy the phone with them. $70 if you use your own Nexus 4. Go to T-Mobile site and try to get the $50 plan without buying the phone. Checkout is grayed out.

11. SavageLucy42

Posts: 211; Member since: Mar 24, 2011

While this is basically the same thing as a 2-year contract, wouldn't it mean though that if you wanted to upgrade earlier you could talk to them about going ahead and paying off the phone you've subsidized?

24. tizz06

Posts: 15; Member since: May 17, 2012

or u can trade the phone in and use it as a credit so u can get u a new phone when u want a new phone

12. wizzardtech

Posts: 59; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

This is the method some cellphone companies offer in Canada. We call it a TAB. We pay small amount for the phone (lets says $49) then the remaining cost of the phone will be divided on 24 months, just say $20 or 15 monthly. You cant leave until its finish or other option is you will be charge with the remaining cost of the device if you leave before that and some fees.

14. dcgore

Posts: 234; Member since: Feb 24, 2012

What about just paying $20 to unlock your phone and just walking away...

22. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You'll still be charged for it. A bill is a bill. You may not be paying for the service but you'll still get a bill for the device.

15. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

$20 for 20 months for any phone? And every phone will be ~$99 up front? Well then good bye low end phones on TMobile.

18. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

$20 a month for high end phones. Low end phones are about $5-10.

23. Rayvelynn

Posts: 124; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

If you can't pay for the phone in 3-6 months you probably have no business buying the phone, lol

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