(NEW YORK) — T-Mobile, welcome to the iPhone club — finally.
T-Mobile USA, the nation’s No. 4 cellphone company, will start selling Apple’s smartphone April 12, but it also will offer cheaper, contract-less data plans, the carrier announced Tuesday at its “Uncarrier” event in New York City.
This makes T-Mobile the first major U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone with no contract.
“If you come to T-Mobile you have signed your last contract. They are dead. Gone. No more,” T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere said.
T-Mobile, which announced in December it had reached an agreement with Apple, is the last major U.S. carrier to get the iPhone. But this is a big deal for current T-Mobile subscribers because the new installment plan option will allow them to switch phones more easily and for less money over time.
While its biggest competitors, including AT&T and Verizon, require customers to lock into a two-year service contract in exchange for discounts on smartphones, T-Mobile announced it is getting rid of device discounts and service contracts and will offer a “radically simplified” installment payment plan on a “full device portfolio.”
“If you have good credit, pay me at the end of the month. If you have bad credit, pay me now,” Legere said. “When you choose a rate plan, you get everything unlimited. No overages, no caps, no bill shock.”
In addition to offering cheaper data plans, T-Mobile subscribers will now have the option to pay off the cost of the phone in monthly payments, which will be separate from service fees. The new plan will also allow customers to upgrade phones when they want.
Starting April 12, the iPhone 5 will be available on the upcoming LTE network for a down payment of $99, and then customers can pay off the rest in monthly $20 increments for two years. The iPhone 4 and 4S will also be available.
The data plans, which were posted on the company’s website Monday before today’s media event, start with unlimited talk and text messaging with 500 megabytes of data downloads for $50 per month for the first line, and increase to $60 a month for 2 gigabytes of data, or $70 a month for unlimited data usage.
T-Mobile announced it is adding additional bandwidth to its network — 50 percent more than AT&T, Legere said — and will also begin rolling out “smoking fast” LTE this year, the last of the four major carriers to do so.
With the addition of T-Mobile, this is the first time Apple’s iPhone is available on all four major U.S. mobile carriers. Sprint, Verizon and AT&T all offer the iPhone. AT&T was the first to carry Apple’s iPhone when it debuted in 2007.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Susan Scutti, CNN