T-Mobile, the 'Uncarrier,' Isn't Playing Its Competitors' Game
T-Mobile Says Americans Are Ready for a Change
T-Mobile invited the press to an event where the decor was purgatory-meets-shackled-in-the-dungeon. "Everyone loves smartphones, everyone hates contracts," CEO John Legere said. "[The other carriers] put you in smartphone purgatory—or smartphone hell." T-Mobile is doing away with contracts and selling its phones separately from its services. "I want to be clear," Legere said. "If you come to T-Mobile, you have signed your last contract."
T-Mobile has been part of a Wild West–style industry full of bad guys that have been pushing people around for too long, but now it's ready to step away from all that, officials suggested during a presentation in New York March 26. CEO John Legere used the event to announce that T-Mobile's LTE network is now live in seven markets, that it will begin selling Apple's iPhone 5 April 12, that it's now selling the BlackBerry Z10, and that the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One are imminent. But most of all, he wanted to clarify something that he said too much of the press has so far gotten wrong: T-Mobile is not turning into a prepaid carrier and it's not dropping phone subsidies. It's separating service plans from the devices—you don't have to buy one to get the other—and is offering both for less. It's also doing away with contracts. Plus, it's offering Equipment Installment Plans (EIPs), meaning the iPhone 5, the Z10, the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One will be available for $99 down and a monthly EIP, with an end result that works out to less than one would pay over two years with a rival carrier. "You're going to see," Legere said, "that we're going to change the rules."