Apple just became the most recent smartphone seller to start offering monthly installment plans, about two years after T-Mobile first pioneered the payment model.
Apple announced the iPhone Upgrade Program when it debuted the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus during its blowout press event on Wednesday. The company started by listing the familiar discounted prices customers get if they buy the phone with a two-year wireless contract, but then it showed off a new way of paying.
The plans run for two years and cost between $32.41 and $44.91 per month — depending on the phone model and amount of storage. With that, customers get one of Apple’s new flagship phones, the company’s AppleCare+ warranty service and a chance to trade in their device for a new phone after one year.
Phones bought through the upgrade program come unlocked, meaning they can be used with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.
The move is going to add another layer of competition to the wireless industry, which is already fighting for customers with a range of hardware payment options. T-Mobile debuted monthly payments first, but every other major carrier has since fallen in line with their own twist on the deal.
Things should get even more interesting now that a manufacturing giant like Apple is going to start competing in the space as well.
About an hour after Apple announced its new payment options, T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to Twitter for a little trash talking, hinting at a new move by the wireless carrier soon.
Let the games begin.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) September 9, 2015
T-Mobile’s official Twitter account has followed up with hints that the carrier is about to announce changes to its own pricing structure, but no word yet on what it has planned.
@unabashedgeek Hey there! We're thrilled that you are excited about JUMP on Demand, and urge you to stay tuned for details! :D *TJ
— T-Mobile? (@TMobile) September 9, 2015