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Comparison Of IPhone Ownership Cost On AT&T, Verizon, Sprint And T-Mobile

It is possible now to draw a comparison of the total cost of ownership throughout the nation’s four largest wireless carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

iphone 5

A lot of outlets ran their spreadsheets to assess the current landscape, including Zagg, best known for its line of protective coverings for consumer electronics.

Zagg confirmed that T-Mobile’s contract-free iPhone 5 is cheaper and it is only for $580 over two years. However, the difference changes once you switch your significant or an entire family of four to the nation’s fourth-largest carrier.

His math assumes T-Mobile’s unlimited data tier (the carrier offers three tiers of data: 500MB, 2GB and unlimited). Sprint by default offers only unlimited option and claims not to throttle data.

Verizon and AT&T no longer have unlimited data so Zagg used the current price for their respective Share Everything and Mobile Share plans, each offering four gigabytes of cellular data per month.

Therefore, T-Mobile’s no-contract iPhone 5 at a total of $2,259.99 over two years comes in for $580 cheaper than the total cost of owning the subsidized iPhone 5 with the obligatory two-year service agreement with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, each coming in for the same $2,389.99.

You will save an additional $240 over the two years, resulting in the total saving of $820 if you pick two gigabytes of data instead of T-Mobile’s unlimited tier.

It is noted that there’s one carrier that is cheaper than T-Mobile: Walmart’s in-house Straight Talk stated that basically, the iphone 5 is cheaper to have for 24 months; Cricket, straight Talk and Virgin are still cheaper options in case you do not want to get an iphone at the start of your contract. However, LTE does not work on Straight Talk.


T-Mobile is the cheapest of the bunch for individuals above all by all means.

Moreover, Verizon’s and AT&T’s LTE coverage is much larger than T-Mobile’s. On the other hand, there’s no escaping from those two-year deals at AT&T or Verizon.

By comparison, T-Mobile lets you cancel your service anytime you want, though you will of course have to pay for the remaining monthly installments.

As a reminder, T-Mobile sells the iPhone 5 with its new Simple Choice Plan for $99.99 down and $20 per month for 24 months. The devices are not sold tied to a service contract – that’s why the cost of the hardware is spread across monthly installments plus that $99.99 up front payment.

In some way, T-Mobile is basically giving you interest-free financing for the hardware and lower service cost than rival telcos.

By looking at the total cost of the iPhone 5 hardware at T-Mobile, you are paying a total of $580: $99.99 down payment + $20 per month over the next 24 months. This is actually $69 cheaper compared to Apple’s asking price for the unlocked iPhone 5 ($649) through its online store.

The carrier’s no-contract iPhone 4/4S is for $75/$1 cheaper versus the online Apple store. T-Mobile is also the first major U.S. telco to support HD Voice (or Wideband Audio) on the iPhone 5.

Unfortunately, their tremendously useful WiFi Calling feature which routes voice calls through nearby WiFi hotspots, in turn saving cellular voice minutes, will not be available on Apple’s device at launch.

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