T-Mobile is tethering the cost of a new handset with service for new and existing customers of its Simple Choice plans in a counter-punch to the plans Verizon unveiled last week.
The nation's third-largest mobile operator launched a promotion that gives a free Samsung Galaxy On5 to customers on the 6 GB monthly rate plan or higher, and offers the slightly more powerful Samsung Galaxy J7 to subscribers on the 10 GB monthly rate plan or higher. The company didn't say how long the offer will last.
T-Mobile's 6 GB-per-month Simple Choice plan is available for $30 per month, per line for families who add at least four lines. No data sharing is required and the company doesn't charge overages, instead opting to throttle network speeds after users have reached their monthly allotments.
The carrier sells the On5 for $140 and sells the J7 for $240, but despite the modest price tags both offer large HD displays and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The savings are realized via bill credits over 24 months on all qualifying rate plans. Customers own the phone outright once the two-year period is over, and those who cancel must pay the balance.
The campaign follows Verizon's move last week to increase both the price of its monthly service plans and the allotments of data those plans offer. The CEOs of both T-Mobile and Sprint were quick to criticize the new offerings via Twitter.
Verizon's new plans and T-Mobile's promotion likely signal the beginning of increased competition in the U.S. market following a typically slow second quarter. Operators are expected to up their marketing activities as young users head back to school in advance of expected new devices from Apple and other manufacturers.
Ironically, T-Mobile's new campaign is a bit of a twist on the subsidized-handset model that the carrier helped kill. For years, U.S. operators offered free or discounted devices to users who signed on to two-year contracts, but T-Mobile launched no-contract pricing without subsidies in 2013 in a move that was eventually followed by every major U.S. operator.
- see this T-Mobile web page
T-Mobile, Sprint quick to pounce on Verizon's price hikes
As expected, Verizon increases prices, raises data allotments, intros data carryover and throttling
T-Mobile kills wireless contracts, will launch iPhone 5 on April 12