Metro by T-Mobile launches iPhone 12 mini offer

iPhone 12 mini
The iPhone 12 models will be replaced by the next iteration of the iPhone, rumored for end of September. (T-Mobile)

Metro by T-Mobile is preparing to offer the 5G-capable iPhone 12 mini on the house, and it’s coming with access to T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network on all plans. The offer starts July 22.

Here’s the catch: Once customers pick up the iPhone 12 mini from a Metro by T-Mobile store, they need to wait three months for the rebate that makes the phone theirs free and clear. The customer also needs to bring in a qualifying trade-in to activate their phone number on Metro’s unlimited plan, which is $60/month for an individual plan or $30 per person for a family of four. Then they’ll get unlimited talk text and smartphone data, and 15 GB of hotspot data.

T-Mobile is offering access to its expansive 5G network, so prospective customers can count that into the mix.

RELATED: 5G adoption low for prepaid carriers: Industry Voices — Moore

“When we said 5G for all, we meant it. And Metro by T-Mobile is giving you the 5G access you deserve,” said Jon Freier, EVP, Consumer Group, at T-Mobile, in a statement. "With 5G included at no extra cost, and now iPhone 12 mini on Us when you join the Metro by T-Mobile family, you can experience the 5G future now.”

It’s not every day that a carrier gives a flagship smartphone to a prepaid user. “It’s impressive,” said Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, noting the terms and conditions that will impact the transaction's uptake.

Of course, Metro by T-Mobile is hoping that three months of unlimited service with a brand-new iPhone 12 mini will entice people to stay a lot longer than a few months. But how much demand are they going to see when rumors are swirling around Apple’s iPhone 13, expected to debut in a couple months?

“I think iPhone 12 mini demand has been soft and that T-Mobile is trying to get rid of iPhone 12 mini inventory ahead of the iPhone 13 launch,” Moore said.

By Moore’s assessment, it’s not necessarily an offer where other prepaid rivals are going to feel the need to immediately respond. “I don’t think it will be a tremendous mover and shaker of numbers,” he said. “I think it will be attractive to some, but fundamentally, most people in the prepaid ecosystem and in the Metro ecosystem in particular are Android users.”

According to Wave7, less than 10 percent of Metro users are purchasing iPhones. “It’s really been 90-plus percent Android,” he said.

In the postpaid world, T-Mobile is offering a back-to-school deal for both new and existing customers. Starting July 23, customers can get an iPhone 12, or up to four of them, on T-Mobile – or $830 off any iPhone 12 series – with 24 monthly bill credits with a qualifying trade-in on its Magenta MAX 5G plan.

RELATED: Verizon ends big 5G upgrade promo

That offer is similar to rivals. Verizon just wrapped up its “biggest 5G upgrade ever” promotion on July 21, where it offered free 5G phones. But AT&T really kicked off the iPhone promotions last fall, when it offered the most aggressive of all new iPhone deals at the time.