Apple iPhone 5 Release Date On T-Mobile Set For April 12, With Price Starting at $99

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U.S. Cellular has sold 10 MHz of its wireless spectrum to T-Mobile for $308 million in cash.

At the company’s “Uncarrier” event in New York City on Tuesday, T-Mobile announced it will finally introduce Apple’s popular iPhone 5 to its network starting April 12. Upon its release date, T-Mobile will sell the iPhone 5 for just $99, plus $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web with 500 MB of 4G data.

“This is an important day for people who love their iPhone but can’t stand the pain other carriers put them through to own one,” John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA, told the crowd at Tuesday’s media event. “We feel their pain. I’ve felt the pain. So we’re rewriting the rules of wireless to provide a radically simple, affordable iPhone 5 experience -- on an extremely powerful network.”

Unlike other carriers that require annual service contracts, T-Mobile decided to do away with the 24-month phone upgrade cycle popularized by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, opting for a new “Simple Choice Plan” that’s both inexpensive and reasonable.

In addition to the initial down payment, consumers need only pay the base rate of $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web, with options to add an extra 2 GB of 4G data for $10 a month or unlimited 4G data for $20 per month per line. Customers can also add a second phone line to their existing plan for just $30 a month, and each additional line costs just $10 a month, with no caps or overages.

T-Mobile boasts that compared to a 24-month plan from AT&T, consumers will pay $1,000 less for their iPhone 5 by choosing T-Mobile.

“These bold moves serve notice that T-Mobile is canceling its membership in the out-of-touch wireless club,” Legere said. “This is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense. As America’s Un-carrier, we are changing all of that and bringing common sense to wireless.”

The iPhone 5 To Release On T-Mobile. Finally.

Back on Dec. 6, T-Mobile’s Germany-based parent company, Deutsche Telekom, announced in a press release that it would begin selling Apple products in 2013.

"Following on from the preceding steps such as the spectrum swap with Verizon, the towers deal with Crown Castle and the transaction with MetroPCS that we have announced, we have now added the final piece to the jigsaw to boost the competitiveness of T-Mobile USA sustainably," said Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann, who is also chairman of the company's board of managers. 

T-Mobile customers had long urged the cellular company to adopt the iPhone, but the carrier likely waited to get involved because the latest iPhone is compatible with the high-speed 4G LTE network, which T-Mobile is working to expand across the U.S. and worldwide in 2013.

On Tuesday, T-Mobile launched 4G LTE service in seven major metropolitan areas, including Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Washington, D.C.; and San Jose, Calif. The company said at its event that New York City will likely be fully supported for 4G LTE service this summer.

“The latest iPhone 5 works in 4G LTE in AWS, 4G in HSPA+ in AWS, and HSPA+ in the 1900 band,” Legere said. “The experience will be beautiful on day one.”

Starting April 12, T-Mobile will be the first and only carrier to sell the iPhone 5 with no annual contract plus unlimited talk, text and Web. Furthermore, T-Mobile customers that purchase the iPhone 5 will also receive a number of “premium benefits,” including 500 MB of 4G data for hotspot tethering, the ability to talk and surf the Web at the same time without limits, and HD voice for “significantly reduced background noise” and crystal clear calls.

What do you think of T-Mobile’s new smartphone plans? Would you purchase an iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, even if its network isn’t as substantial as those from AT&T or Verizon Wireless? Sound off in our comments section below.

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