The woman at the Manassas, Va., T-Mobile store sounded frazzled. “We’re slammed,” she said, and suggested that if I wanted to buy an iPhone 5 from T-Mobile in the DC area, it might make sense to make an appointment.
A salesperson at another T-Mobile store in the Washington suburbs said that the store had to borrow line management ropes and stands from a nearby Best Buy in order to handle the crowds. Another store reported very strong sales; a salesperson there said that he was dreading when everyone gets off from work. “I don’t know what’s going to happen then. I hope we’re ready.”
The sales staffs at the Washington-area T-Mobile stores said that the fact that they were in an area served by T-Mobile’s newly launched LTE seemed to spur a lot of sales. “Everybody wants to know how fast the LTE is,” one salesperson said. “All I know is that it’s really fast.”
At each store that I contacted in the DC suburbs there seemed to be amazement at the response to the opening day of iPhone sales for T-Mobile. While at least some of the people working at these stores had at least witnessed the long lines of customers at Apple and AT&T stores in previous months, they’d never actually experienced anything like this.
So why the rush to buy an iPhone 5 from T-Mobile? After all, this phone has been out for six months. You’d think that everyone who wanted one would have it by now. Part of the reason is that T-Mobile is offering features that other carriers aren’t and part of the excitement is that T-Mobile is offering a much better deal than anyone else including Apple.
The T-Mobile deal works like this. If you want to buy an iPhone from T-Mobile, it will cost you $99 for the 16GB version, plus monthly payments to T-Mobile of $20 per month for 24 months. The net cost, since T-Mobile isn’t charging interest is $579 for an unlocked iPhone. You can buy the same phone, complete with a T-Mobile SIM from Apple, for $649. That’s a $70 discount.
On top of that, there’s no contract. While you still have to pay T-Mobile for the phone they sold you, it’s an unlocked phone, so you can use any GSM nano-SIM. Or you can use T-Mobile’s unlimited plan for $70 per month. That’s also cheaper than the competition.
In addition if you live in one of the areas with LTE (the Washington, DC area for example) then you get better data rates than you get from any other carrier.