If you're thinking about picking up a smartphone in the near future and aren't connected at the hip to one carrier or another here in the USA, you might want to hear what T-Mobile has to say this week. They've got a big event coming up tomorrow, but for today they've already revealed one of the biggest announcements: contract-free smartphone plans with far lower costs than they'd ever offered before. But that's not the kicker!
If you purchase a smartphone on any major carrier today on a 2-year contract, you get a subsidized price on that smartphone. This means it's cheaper to you than it'd be if you bought the device off-contract - but you'll be paying for it anyway in monthly costs to the carrier in addition to the amount you pay for data, voice, and text.
Even after you've paid enough money to the carrier, cash each month equivalent to a portion of the full cost of the smartphone, you'll continue to pay. The only way to avoid this amount of money that isn't actually purchasing you anything is to sign up for a new 2-year contract with that carrier for a new smartphone.
With T-Mobile's new plans, you've got the smartphone's cost separate - clearly separate - from the monthly payments you make for data, voice, and text. The smartphone will cost the same as it did before T-Mobile switched over to this new plan, but you'll be able to pay it off without worrying about signing up for a contract - or a new contract once you've paid off the smartphone.
Once you pay off the full amount of the smartphone (the off-contract price), you no longer have to pay T-Mobile for the privilege to use said device. You only have to pay the data, voice, and text cost. Once you pay off the cost of the phone, you get a lower monthly bill.
Sound like the paradigm shift you were waiting for in mobile device carrier economics? Let us know if you expect T-Mobile to be your mobile carrier in the near future! Also have a look at the rest of T-Mobile's plans in a report on what they've shown off already, and join us tomorrow for more during the big T-Mobile event!