At long last, T-Mobile USA will be getting the iPhone.

iphone-small5555The Bellevue-based company will start offering the iPhone 5 nationwide on April 12 as a flagship device in its shift away from wireless contracts. The Apple device will be available for $99.99 down and $20/month for two years (or a total of $580) — running on T-Mobile’s existing HSPA+ and new 4G LTE network, launching today starting in seven metro areas.

“I can finally announce that the phone that redefined the industry is coming to T-Mobile,” said John Legere, T-Mobile USA CEO, at a news conference in New York City introducing the company’s new rate plans. “It was such a huge void in our device portfolio.”

It’s part of a broader comeback attempt by T-Mobile as a challenger to Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Legere spent the initial part of the event lambasting the press and the wireless industry in humorous and at times profane language, criticizing reports that T-Mobile’s new plan will cost consumers more than rival plans do.

For example, he said, someone buying an iPhone 5 on AT&T will end up paying $1,000 more over the life of the contract. He poked fun at suggestions that T-Mobile will be ending subsidies.

“Who’s subsidizing what?” he said, adding later: “Customers don’t need another AT&T. Customers need someone to stop acting like AT&T.”

On Verizon, the 16GB iPhone 5 costs $199.99, but the wireless giant also charges a $40/month “monthly line access fee” that continues for as long as the customer is using the phone. T-Mobile is touting the fact that it will stop charging for the phone after it’s fully paid.

T-Mobile’s base rate for the iPhone 5 will be $50/month for 500MB of data, with 2GB running $60/month, or unlimited data for $70/month.

The company will also be offering the iPhone 4 and 4S in select markets.

T-Mobile’s says its 4G LTE service is launching today in Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. It’s expected to reach a potential of 100 million people by the middle of the year and 200 million by year end.

[Updated at 11:25 a.m. to correct initial down payment for iPhone 5: It’s $99.99. Thanks to the commenter below.]

Transcript: T-Mobile CEO calls B.S. on the wireless industry, and the press

Comments

  • John

    Tmobile is the worst phone company in the history of phone companies. They lie, lie, lie about their fees, contracts, and customer support.

    • Jesse

      What you smoking? I have been with them for years an my bill is half of what AT&T and Verizon charges…. best customer service! You are wrong buddy..

    • Shawie

      I think T-Mobile is the best carrier out there. I’ve been with them for 10 yrs I’ve never had any problems with them. I tried ATT and they cost a lot for a single plan 450 rollover min with 2G of data + text = $90 a month or $1080 a yr. Now I have 5 lines with unlimited talk+text+data for $200. So Im pretty confident that T-Mobile is a better company pricing wise and best customer service :-)

    • Chuck

      When you call Tmobile your get Jim from down the street not “Bob” from Indonesia like most other carriers! Never had a problem with them.

  • John

    Wow, the admin is deleting negative comments on T-Mobile. This is basically a paid ad by T-Mobile. They are the worst company in the history of phone companies.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      John, your comments aren’t being deleted. Sometimes our commenting system has a glitch where it doesn’t show comments for a short period of time, and if you’re not seeing yours, that is what’s happening, but they’ll be back shortly. Thanks for your comments.

  • Baseskizl

    I see someone can’t do math $20(24)+$99=$579.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Thanks — my mistake was actually in explaining the money down. It’s $99.99, so the total is $580 (or $579.99 if you don’t like rounding.)

      • Baseskizl

        Ha! I was hoping it was the telco that made the error. It would not be the first time I have had errors on my bills.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nconanan Nathaniel Conanan

    So if i have unlimited data 70+20 for the phone thats about 2160 for 2 yrs… Not including tax?? If u wanna keep tmobile for more than 2yrs its fine.. But i think its not worth it

  • Garrett

    You still have to pay for phone and data which starts at $50 don’t you? That would make the lowest bill $70/mo and you’re still on the hook for the $20/mo for two years. This is still a bit of a subsidy if you ask me and it smells a lot like a contract even if you can quit the base service. A step in the right direction but cell phones shouldn’t be this complicated.

  • panacheart

    I like T-Mobile. They’re not perfect, but having slept with Verizon and AT&T, I think they’re the best bet for the money. I’m glad they’re getting the iPhone. Can’t wait. I’ve had enough of the Android, which is flaky and annoying.

  • Angela

    How much is verizon for unlimited data on the iphone? Oh that’s right–can’t get it at all! Seems to me the two “lower cost” carriers are the only path to unlimited data on the iphone. That’s why I have Sprint now, LTE.

  • gmckinney27

    so i have a question will the iphone5 have the wifi calling feature

  • Buchhaar

    Does it also mean i get 4g and not 2g with my iphone 4s?

  • T MOBILE ARE LIARS!!!

    THIS IS A LIE!!!! IT’S A CONTRACT. JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH T MOBILE. WHAT NON CONTRACT DO YOU KNOW THAT BILLS YOU EVERY MONTH? WHAT NON CONTRACT PLAN DO YOU KNOW YOU GOTTA PAY AN ACTIVATION FEE OF $35? WHAT NON CONTRACT PLAN DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU HAVE TO DO A CREDIT CHECK? $99 DOWN PLUS THE MONTHLY PLAN PLUS $ 20 ADD SOUNDS GREAT, WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU IS YOU HAVE TO PAY AN ACTIVATION FEE OF $35 PLUS YOU GET BILLED EVERY MONTH! FALSE ADVERTISEMENT AT IT’S FINEST!!!!!!

  • Uriah Romero

    This is sure to be a popular incentive for those who want to change to T-Mobile. I took advantage of the offer, traded in my 4S for an iPhone 5 and the network has been nothing but speedy since so streaming is effortless. I like to catch up on my live and recorded shows using my phone on the trip to and from work at DISH, as it takes a while to get there. The app I stream with is the DISH Anywhere app, which lets me watch my shows wherever I go, and it works well on the iPhone 5.

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