The idea of buying an off-contract smartphone can sound pretty tempting. Once you get past the high upfront, unsubsidized cost, at least you’ll no longer be bound by contracts, and can save a buck by just signing-on for the services you’re interested in, right? While you certainly have some more options with pre-paid or monthly services, if you’re still looking to maintain traditional talk, text, and data on a major carrier, you may find that your service options aren’t that different from what someone with a subsidized phone pays. If part of the cost of their phone is supposed to come out of what they pay for service, why don’t non-subsidized phones get a discount? T-Mobile thinks they should, and is introducing a series of “Value” plans that’s perfect for users who already own their own phone.
From what we’ve seen, it really does look like some big savings are possible. Right now, a two-line family plan with unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data will run you about $140 a month. The same plan, under this new Value category for un-subsidized hardware, is just $100. That $480 a year you’d save could go a long way towards buying the new phone of your choice.
The big problem is the selection available of smartphones with T-Mobile’s 1700MHz 3/4G band. Sure, you could go with any of the models T-Mobile currently offers, but if you’re looking to import a phone from Europe, something you can’t easily get in the US, you’re a heck of a lot more likely to find one that supports AT&T than T-Mobile. Still, this sounds like a great idea, and we’d be interested to see more carriers offer similar service plans.
T-Mobile’s new Value plans will be available as of July 24.