Trending: Health Tech Podcast: How one woman built her own artificial pancreas and started a DIY movement

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

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.