T-Mobile iPhone Sales Jam Company Stores in Washington DC, Elsewhere

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2013-04-12 Print this article Print

My tests of LTE in the DC suburbs averaged about 27 mbps for download speeds and 13 mbps for upload speeds using a BlackBerry Z10. I never had the chance to test the LTE speeds on T-Mobile’s network with an iPhone 5 because my tests of the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile’s network predated the launch of LTE. However there’s no reason to think they’d be much different from the LTE speeds iPhone users are experiencing now.

T-Mobile is also offering HD voice on the iPhone, which is something else that I wasn’t able to test at the time of my evaluation of a T-Mobile iPhone. I’m not sure it would help since there’s no reason to believe that I have a high-definition voice, but apparently it sounds good.

The real bottom line, though, is that T-Mobile is showing that it is possible to sell the iPhone and make it a good deal for consumers. The phone is less expensive, the service is less expensive and you get a little more in the process. So what’s the rest of the industry going to do about it?

Probably nothing at first. The other three carriers are kind of stuck with their plans and prices for the immediate future. Considering how profitable these plans are, they have little reason to change. At least not now. But that could change.

What would cause this change to happen is the T-Mobile trade-in program. In addition to selling the iPhone at a discount, T-Mobile is also offering to accept earlier-model iPhones as trades on the new one. The trade-in value can be as high as $140 depending on the phone and the condition. That can come off the top of the iPhone you’re buying, or it can be used in other ways on your phone bill. But what that means is that some customers will be getting iPhone 5 devices for less than $450.

What this could mean is that the other carriers could start seeing their out-of-contract customers, or people who are almost out of contract trading in their phones to get a T-Mobile iPhone and never looking back. If enough of their customers do this then the competing carriers will have no choice but to pay attention.

The result has only one outcome–the other carriers will have to lower their prices and modify their contract requirements, or eliminate contracts to match T-Mobile. If this happens it means is that everyone wins, regardless of who your wireless carrier is.


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