Has T-Mobile just become the hot new retail destination for unlocked smartphones? After all, it’s getting phones like the iPhone 5, Galaxy S 4, and BlackBerry Z10, and it’s looking like this whole no-subsidies installment plan system it’s dreamed up could offer some big discounts over direct off-contract sales. Why, just look at how its pricing for various storage options for the iPhone 5 works out, where even after all those monthly payments are made, the phone costs up to $70 less than Apple’s prices. Before you start getting ahead of yourself, T-Mobile has confirmed that it won’t just outright sell you a phone at that kind of price without service.
Granted, with no contracts you could always just get the cheapest service option available and then cancel your plan after a month, pay off the balance on your handset, and get your phone unlocked, ready to use on the carrier of your choice, but that’s not quite as nice as being able to walk in and buy a $650 iPhone for $580. Now, you will be able to go to a T-Mobile store and buy that phone with no service plan, but you’ll be paying the full $650.
To be fair, T-Mobile never really suggested that this could happen – it is a carrier, anyway – but apparently the no-contract business got at least a few people hopeful; sorry to burst your bubbles.