Free phones -- not free service -- at T-Mobile USA
Deutsche Telekom unit, seeking new subscribers, offers phones to new users on an unlimited family of five plan, which can cost $3,835 a year
Computerworld - T-Mobile USA today announced that every phone it sells on Saturday will be free to users that agree to subscribe to a two-year family plan, or to new users added to an existing family plan.
A family contract offering unlimited voice, texting and Web access can max out at $3,835, not including taxes or fees, for a family of five the first year.
The offer is limited to five phones per family plan, according to T-Mobile's press release.
Some bloggers were critical of the move, describing it as an attempt to win new subscribers amid rumors that the carrier's parent, Deutsche Telekom AG, is looking to sell T-Mobile USA. Currently, the T-Mobile has nearly 34 million subscribers in the U.S. on its GSM network, making it the fourth largest carrier behind Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint Nextel.
Last week, financial analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers suggested that T-Mobile, not Verizon Wireless, will be the next carrier to sell Apple Inc.'s iPhone in the U.S, another move in another attempt to win back lost customers.
The offer starts at 8 a.m. June 19 in every T-Mobile store, and will continue while supplies last, T-Mobile said. Up for grabs are 30 devices from manufacturers HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Sharp. The models include recent launches myTouch 3G Slide, HTC HD2 and Garminfone. The latter is an Android device that includes Garmin navigation technology that offers voice-guided directions.
Details on the offer and a list of stores are available at a special T-Mobile USA Web site.
Even though the devices are free on Saturday, there is a $35 activation fee per user. The free phone offer also includes normal early termination fees of up to $200.
Family voice plans at T-Mobile run from $60 a month for 1,000 voice minutes to $100 a month for unlimited talk. A 1,500 minute voice plan, that includes text and Web access costs $120 a month. An T-Mobile unlimited voice plus text and Web plan runs $140 a month.
However, these prices cover only two family members on a plan. Plans can add up to $30 per person for unlimited talk and text and up to $25 a month per smartphone user for Web access, according to the T-Mobile Web site.
A family is capped at five people, meaning the unlimited voice, text and Web plan per month would run $305 a month or $3,660 a year, not including fees and taxes that can add 15% to a bill on average. Finally, if you add the $35 activation fee per user, the first year would hit $3,835, not including fees and taxes that vary by state and locality.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.
- Tips for Driving User Adoption in New Technology Deployment Read this checklist on tips for driving user adoption to see where you stand.
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Planning for Mobile Success Many organizations are seeing clear and quantifiable benefits from the deployment of mobile technologies that provide access to data and applications any time,...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts