Ina Fried

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Life Is Very Different for T-Mobile U.S. Now That It Finally Has an iPhone to Sell

For the past several years, the launch of a new iPhone marked the start of a painful time for T-Mobile U.S., which lacked Apple’s phones in its lineups.

Oh, what a difference a year makes. When the new products go on sale next week, T-Mobile will have the same iPhone lineup as rivals Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

“It is so much fun to be on this side of the ledger,” said longtime T-Mobile executive Andrew Sherrard. “It is fantastic.”

iPhone5S_trio

Now the challenge for T-Mobile — and for the others — is to make the case why its network and plans are the way to go.

For the others, it will be largely the same story as last time around — Sprint will tout its unlimited data, Verizon the breadth of its LTE network, and AT&T can tout, among other benefits, the ability to talk and text at the same time.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, is hoping to play up its “uncarrier” pitch. To heighten the appeal, the company is offering the 16 gigabyte iPhone 5c for no money down, with payments of $22 a month. That’s an introductory price, but represents a slight discount from the phone’s standard unsubsidized price in addition to the appeal of no upfront cost.

For the iPhone 5s, T-Mobile is charging $99 down and roughly $23 a month for 24 months.

AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, meanwhile, are each charging $99 for the 16GB iPhone 5c with a two-year contract and $199 for the 16GB iPhone 5s.

While it isn’t offering a subsidy on the phone, T-Mobile insists its pricing can save $1,000 or more off the total two-year cost of ownership. The difference is even more when compared with AT&T’s Next and Verizon’s Edge programs, Sherrard said.

And, though it has a smaller LTE network than AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile said it is rapidly expanding. Sherrard said its network now covers 180 million people in 154 metropolitan areas, up from the 116 markets and 157 million people it had covered as of July.


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