T-Mobile may address high phone prices with its next Un-carrier move

t mobile record revenue
T-Mobile, the self-coined “Un-carrier,” has made a point of addressing wireless customers’ biggest pain points. Its Un-carrier Next launch saw subscribers refunded the taxes and fees they normally pay on top of plan prices. T-Mobile’s KickBack, which launched earlier this year, doled out payments to subscribers who used 2GB of data or less a month. And now, the carrier wants to shake up how people buy new phones.

According to leaked documents obtained by Android Authority, T-Mobile will launch a service that reduces the price of top-tier phones like the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7, which often retail for more than $650. It won’t be a contract deal — the marketing materials say its “commitment free” — and it’ll come with a lifetime warranty and insurance included. If you’ve broken a phone, want a new one, or have had enough and want to return it, you’ll be able to do so.

Android Authority expects the plan to launch in the third quarter of this year.

The new benefit appears aimed at subscribers who’d rather pay for new smartphones outright instead of in monthly installments. In 2015, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint eliminated subsidized phone pricing — the discounts on devices offered in exchange for two-year commitments. The shift has some investors worried. In January, Wells Fargo Securities lowered its rating on Verizon in part because of “installment plan migrations.”

It’s unclear whether the new plan will join — or replace — Jump, T-Mobile’s early upgrade plan. A $9 to $12 fee (depending on the phone) each month allows you to trade in and upgrade your phone after 50 percent of the total cost is paid off, and includes insurance, theft, and accidental damage.

In some cases, Jump ends up being more expensive than buying a phone outright. If you turn in an iPhone 6S and get a new iPhone 7, for example, you’ll pay $1,069 after two years — about $200 more than the iPhone 7’s $900 asking price.

The rumored benefit comes on the heels of T-Mobile’s new One plan, which includes unlimited talk, unlimited texting, and unlimited 4G LTE data for $70. “Four years ago, we were talking about a trend in the industry,” T-Mobile chief John Legere said at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. “More than 70 percent of wireless customers say wireless plans are too complicated. They want simplicity.”

And it comes as T-Mobile makes costly upgrades to its network. In April, T-Mobile acquired low-band spectrum, the frequencies over which cellular signals travel, for $8 billion.

Mobile

5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.
Mobile

Moto Z3's 5G Moto Mod will finally be available for pre-order starting March 14

Buckle up your Moto Mods and get ready -- the Motorola Moto Z3 is finally almost here. Boasting flagship specs and a classic Motorola design, the phone is set to be a serious contender for anyone looking for a flagship-like phone.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for March 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for March 2019.
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Mobile

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.
Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.