In a set of announcements on Tuesday, T-Mobile USA said it would begin selling the iPhone 5 and other new phones, and announced that it had launched LTE in seven cities.
The new phones and LTE accompanied a new three-tiered pricing structure unveiled by T-Mobile on Sunday for unlimited voice, text and high-speed data at $50, $60 or $70 a month. The two cheapest plans throttle speeds to 2G levels -- perhaps 50 Kbps to 100 Kbps -- when the data usage exceeds 500 MB in a month for the $50 plan and 2.5 GB in a month for the $60 plan.
In a Webcast today, T-Mobile CEO John Legere described the new phone pricing and rate plans as a way to simplify and clarify how a wireless carrier should work for consumers. "It's more transparency, more certainty, with unlimited everything," he said.
He urged customers to try the new approach, adding: "If we suck this month, drop us!"
Here's some answers to other key questions about today's announcement.
What are the new phones T-Mobile will be selling? For new phones and devices running over LTE, T-Mobile announced the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Z10, HTC One, T-Mobile Sonic 2.0 Mobile HotSpot LTE and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
What's the pricing plans for the new phones? A new iPhone 5 will cost $579, starting April 12, with the option to pay $99 down and $20 a month for 24 months. The $579 price tag is $70 below the cost of a new 16GB unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple, which is priced at $649. T-Mobile will also sell the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in select cities, but didn't specify pricing.
The iPhone 5 will be the only one to work with HD voice, a feature being built into T-Mobile's network. It will also work over three network channels: Advanced Wireless Services, the 1700 band HSPA+ and 1900 band HSPA+. That capability means more AT&T devices will operate on T-Mobile's network, and AT&T is allowing customers to unlock their phones.
The Galaxy S4 will go on sale May 1, officials said, but pricing was not announced.
The Z10 costs $99.99, with 24 monthly payments of $18 or $532 total.
The HTC One carries a $99 down payment, but officials didn't disclose monthly payment costs or availability.
The Note II is already shipping at T-Mobile, but an over-the-air update allows for LTE connectivity with T-Mobile.
There are many other phones listed on T-Mobile's Web site that won't run on LTE, but will run on HSPA+ and 3G. Those include the Samsung Galaxy S II in white for $30 down and $16 a month for 24 months (or $414).
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