On April 12, T-Mobile will carry the iPhone 5. This is a big deal because the phone will be offered contract-free. Under the Simple Choice plan, the service will cost $50 per month for unlimited talk, text, and 3G data, plus 500 MB of 4G (high-speed) data. 2GB of 4G data can be added for $10 per month, or unlimited 4G data for $20 per month.
Under Simple Choice, the iPhone 5 will cost $99.99 down and $20 per month for 24 months. This is a grand total of $579.99, less than Apple’s $649 price for an unlocked phone. Presumably T-Mobile will let you unlock the phone after it’s paid off.
Under T-Mobile, the two-year price for the phone, plus 2.5GB 4G data service per month costs $2019.99.
With Verizon, the monthly Share Everything fee for 2GB of data service is $100, and the iPhone 5 is subsidized at $199.99. There is a $35 activation fee. The two-year grand total is $2634.99.
AT&T’s pricing for 450 minutes (unlimited night and weekend) is $39.99 per month. Add 3GB of data for $30, and unlimited text messaging and cell-to-cell calls for $20. This brings the monthly service total to $89.99. The iPhone 5 is subsidized at $199.99, like Verizon. The two-year grand total for AT&T is $2359.75.
(None of the above pricing include taxes and other gotcha fees.)
Your monthly pricing will not drop on Verizon or AT&T after your contact is up. Year 3 on T-Mobile will cost you $720. On Verizon and AT&T, it will cost $1200 and $1079.88 respectively.
T-Mobile is throwing in unlimited 3G data (with the option for unlimited 4G data for $10/month), and 500MB per month of free 4G tethering. It also supports HD Voice, for higher quality phone calls.