T-Mobile Increases iPhone 5 Down Payment Price To $149 As Promotional Pricing Ends

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Ah T-Mobile, I knew your introductory pricing of $99 down payment wasn’t going to last. As of today, T-Mobile will ask well-qualified customers to drop $149 as their down payment instead of $99 as has been the case since the April 12th launch. I don’t recall anyone or anywhere telling me the $99 price was only good for one month, but in hindsight I should have seen the writing on the wall.

The iPhone 5 with eligible plan now increases from $579 to $629 as your total overall payment over 24 months. The 32GB and 64GB models don’t escape the price increase either as they move to $249 and $349 down payments respectively. That’s a $50 increase in the net down payment across the board leading to a $50 increase in the total cost over the life of the plan to $729 and $529

The monthly equipment installment doesn’t change thankfully from $20 over 24 months and it still allows T-Mobile to claim it’ still offering the most affordable upfront price available in the market.

The iPhone trade-in offer, which saw a slight uptick in marketing over Mother’s Day weekend continues as a way to allow customers with iPhone 4 and 4S devices hanging around to offset the upfront cost of upgrading to an iPhone 5.

Raising prices after an unknown promotional period…how very “UNcarrier.”

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  • Whiskers

    Price increase for a phone soon to be outdated by the next model , ridiculous .

    • Guest

      That’s the T-Mobile model. I’ve seen them increase handset prices before so it was more or less too good to be true. My girlfriend hesitated on buying the iPhone 5 (thanks to me, lol) so it looks like she definitely won’t be getting one now. She’ll just have to wait for the 5S.

  • Tim Moore

    Wow way to “different” there huh? Hard to differentiate yourself from the other companies over $50.

  • Gummo

    Wow David, that is the most poorly written title I’ve ever read on your blog, “…Bumps Down Payment…” Keep it simple. I know T-Mobile is living in a new paradigm, but simply keep it simple and elaborate in body of article, i.e. increases cost blah blah blah. Yes it’s like a down payment but no need to explain in a title. Bumps Down Payment sounds like a decrease. Just thought if share my confusion / amusement with reading today posts. Keep up the good work mate.

    • I disagree that the title wasn’t simple enough, I want to give more credit to people than that but I changed it from “bumped” to “increased” all the same! Thanks for the feedback!

      • zac

        “bumps down” could imply it was going down.

        • jonathan3579

          Bump [transitive verb]: to subject to a scalar change {rates being bumped up}

          Bumps “down payment.” It’s not that difficult.

        • thepanttherlady

          That’s the way I read it.

  • thatuptowncat37

    They should offer a “promotional” price for S4 for a while….IF THEY REALLY WANT TO GET MY ATTENTION!!!

  • Aurizen

    wow that’s a slap to the face, the $99 would have brought a lot of people in. but I guess that 50$ increase is not a big deal, but 99 does look better than 150

    • Dakota

      I think it’s important cuz 99 gets attention and brings people into checking Tmobile out. They also kept saying we’re selling a cheaper iPhone than everyone else. They also didnt really advertise the 99 was one month only.

      • Aurizen

        I agree, it should remain $99.

  • wow… my hd2 finally died on a trip out of town and was thinking about getting an iphone… guess not… htc here I come… again… lol

    • JB

      Ahh the HD2. I still have mine!! That thing is a BEAST. Hands down one of the best phones I’ve ever owned.

      • Gelacio Villalobos

        Mine broke a few months back. Now I am on AT&T with a One X because no one else wanted to be on T-Mobile in my family. Miss T-Mobile’s faster HSPA+.

  • Zac

    Wait whoa what?!? That was a limited time price? Did I miss something? I thought that was going to be the permanent price for the iPhone 5.

    I don’t have a marketing degree, but why not increase the EIP to $22/Month instead of increasing the down payment to $149 if you want to get an extra $50 from people without killing your momentum?

    • PiCASSiMO

      Yup… it’s probably easier to swallow $2 per month increase than $50 up front cost.

      • Gelacio Villalobos

        I think Verizon customers would disagree with you about a two dollar increase in their bills.

    • mdosu

      You should view this promotion as a temporary decrease of iPhone5’s overall price. Now it’s $50 more expensive.

    • bob90210

      Because people love sales. T-Mobile probably already noticed iPhone sales have slowed down. If $580 is the lowest T-Mobile can realistically go, then now is the time to increase the price. Everyone who wanted a T-Mobile iPhone probably already bought own so T-Mobile will pickup a few bucks from late stragglers. And has room in the price to offer a Father’s day or Fourth of July sale.

    • Dakota

      Because Tmobile marketing has always stumbled over themselves.

  • JB

    That kinda sucks… That doesn’t differentiate them from the other carriers as much anymore, at least in the realm of the iPhone. Here in MO, That separates them from the other carriers by about $18, being that they have to charge you tax on the total amount of the device vs. the tax on subsidy. With that said, I still think T-Mobile’s UNcarrier model is still the bees knees, especially if you take advantage of their device recovery program.

    My friend traded in her GS3 for the GS4 last week and got $225 for it, which effectively took care of the down payment, taxes and left her with a $25 credit. Sure she could’ve probably gotten a bit more from ebay or craigslist, but she doesn’t like dealing with that sort of stuff, so she felt like she got a good deal. I would have to concur.

  • Jess

    I went to the T-Mobile retail store yesterday to buy the iphone 5 for my mom, and the system would not let me upgrade my line in order to do so. The rep told me to come back tomorrow which is today and now I know why!!! It worked with all other phones, except for the iPhone 5. Now I know that it was done on purpose since I could’ve gotten it for $99 yesterday.

    • Whiskers

      Don’t ya just love T-Mobile’s secret business policies.

      System is temporary down so they can shaft you when it goes back up.more

    • Eli

      I had that problem yesterday too, but luckily my rep was able to work around it through another option on their screen… :

  • steveb944

    Aw man I liked telling people they could get an iPhone for $99 at T-Mobile, they would have nothing to refute with. But now, it’s nothing special.

  • jehrler

    Going to go a bit off topic here, but we are looking at getting an iPad and were wondering if anyone has heard if the iPad’s will have an update slipstreamed to allow access to the AWS bands for 4G use? I know the iPhone 5 for AT&T is expected/has been updated to include the AWS for 4G, but haven’t heard anything about the AT&T iPad.

    • Mobilewolf789

      All I can say is that I have popped in the sim card in my iPad 2 from time time and since the last updupdate tmo asks for user Id and password info before I can surf but my data connection has been pretty good so far.

  • Milad

    Got the iphone 5 Mother’s Day trade in on Saturday for my wife with zero down , just paid the taxes $34 and $15 installement for 24 month , this is the cheapest Mother’s Day gift ever …. Not that i am cheap but Tmobile rocks …

  • James

    Just wait, in 3 months time, this phone will probably be $50 down payment or less.

    • bob90210

      if you wait just 24 months more, it will be real cheap.

  • It did seem odd to me that they were selling it for less than the GS4. Sucks that its no longer $99 but I guess this makes sense.

  • sloanie

    I wonder if the HTC One will follow a similar pattern. It’s also a flagship phone (32gb too) selling for $99 down / $580-ish, no?

  • Graham Blackadder

    I’m quite happy and content with the nexus 4 I had to put $19.99 down for. Insurance is 7.99, and monthly payment of $17. Happy happy T-Mobile customer here!

    • Ghost79

      Is it a good phone I’m thinking about getting one

      • psaux

        It’s better to buy it outright from google. $350 once and then you’re done, no string, no muss, no fuss.

      • zifnab

        Its a great phone. Only a few downsides: A) Glass back is insanely fragile, B) 16gb of storage is very lmiiting, and C) No LTE which could be a deal breaker if you’re in a tmobile area with LTE. Otherwise its the best android phone i’ve ever owned. No lag and no crashes in the 5 months i’ve had it.

        • Graham Blackadder

          Lte can be enabled with an update. There are cases to protect the glass. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned too and I’ve only had it a week, still finding new things etc.16gb isn’t a lot no but alas it doesn’t have 46% of internal memory taken up with bloat ware either.

    • bob90210

      You’re paying 50% of the monthly cost for insurance. For a phone that will be worth half the amount in a year. That is ridiculously high. You might as well buy two phones for that price! You’re better off putting the money in the bank and buy a new phone if anything happens.

  • ian g.

    i hope the htc one black edition is coming to tmo. And hoping that HTC will extend their trade in program since no US carrier has the black edition yet

    • ssl48

      AT&T introduced the black variant last week.

  • OOO

    Typical scumbag T-mobile move.

  • Factory_Reject

    What promotional period? When did they say the price would go up after mothers day? It is always about the new customers and screw the long time users. Where was the warning? Crap like this makes me think about about going to Virgin Mobile. Wait John Legere said “if we suck this month, drop us. Go somewhere else.” I get the message.

    • Hogpistol

      Why does T-Mobile owe anyone a warning on their pricing? Does Wal-Mart tell you when the price of milk is going up? Does the movie theater warn you when they jack up the prices of tickets or a bucket of popcorn? No. If you want to buy it at the new price, do it. If not, don’t.

  • mdosu

    they should have just been upfront with a “limited time only” wording. Even if they elect not to change the pricing, it provides proper disclaimer should they decide to change the price later for any reason. Amateur marketing excecutives at T-Mobile…

  • ssl48

    Why can’t T-Mobile be transparent? They talk crap about all the other carriers, but I’m sure with the other carriers it would have been clearly stated that the price was “promotional.” They constantly change plans, policies and procedures without warning and this is why they continue to lose customers.

    • gshoq

      Carriers change prices all the time. Granted it is not everyday that prices go up, but it is still cheaper than what Apple and other carriers charge for essentially the same device. Don’t get your panties all wound up because the price went up $50.

      • LOVE

        T Mobile listed the Full Price as 579.99
        Didnt say promo or for a limited set time.
        TMobile is the liar.

    • LOVE

      not to mention rude customer service, or whatever you can call it 611

  • Aaron Tillery

    Stop complaining, its not that big a deal your still saving money they didnt say it was permiante pricing(actually read your contracts) and if your making this big a deal over 50 dollars for a phone maybe you shouldnt get a smartphone to begin with, Here in Buffalo i get great speeds(around 10mbps) clear phone calls since Jan iv had about 3 dropped calls and thats it my bills only 73 a month and i used 78GB thats right GB of data and no overages stop complaining people,

    • mgldan

      $50 is $50, no matter if you spend it at the grocery store, at the gas station, on Amazon, or with T-Mobile. Money doesn’t lose any purchasing power just because you have more or less of it.

    • Alan713

      on what you spent 78gb? just curious! i guess one can download torrents thru a phone and then transfer for a computer.

  • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

    A $600 phone’s price just rose by $50. #firstworldproblems

    • corey

      Actually now it matches apple suggested retail pricing for an iphone 5 tmobile was basically giving a 50 discount . No need to complain should got it when it was cheap.

      • Whiskers

        Apple.com list the i5 unlocked and no contract for $649 so the $50 increase to $629 that T-Mobile has changed still don’t add up to your facts.
        So i don’t think it has anything to do with bringing it up to Apple’s suggested retail price list , it’s T-Mobile wanting more profit. because there is a high demand for the i5 on T-Mobile’s cheap plans they are offering right now and they sold alot of them in a short period of time.
        Chaching , Chaching , can you see the pattern here .

        • Geek Man

          Last time I know T-mobile is a business not a charity. I guess making money is their goal.

          Chaching chaching.

          The lesson is, a discount does not last forever.

        • Whiskers

          But they never listed it as a discount introductory price , if it was they should of stated that when it was released .
          Another lesson to be learned…

        • tmo1138

          This is even moreso the case now that they’re a publicly traded company.. they not only have to answer to DT but investors as well.

        • LOVE

          TMobile is the liar

      • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager


  • Stop It T Mobile

    The real bottom line is someone at T-mobile wants to predetermine what devices should be top tier. The problem with this formula is….making another phone $629.99 DOES NOT DETERMINE WHERE IT RANKS IN TERMS OF FEATURES. The I phone 5 is no Galaxy S4 and neither are equivalent to a Note 2!! This is simply a marketing game to use pricing to control the actions of your customers. What should happen is people wake up and refuse to pay $629.99 for an I5 simply because it’s not worth that price point. Its very obvious to me that T mobile has some type of special arrangement with both Samsung and Apple.
    We can only hope the Htc One stays at $579.99. The I5 should be priced wherever the GS3 is simply because these two came to the market place as rivals. Making the I5 the same as a GS4 is just stupid because an I5 is not as well featured as a GS4. LEAVE THE DAMN PRICES ALONE….LOWER THEM DON’T RAISE THEM FOR STUPID REASONS LIKE NO REASON AT ALL.

    • bob90210

      Features are irrelevant with respect to price. The only thing that determines price is the amount that people are willing to pay for it. If customers will buy the iPhone at $630, then that will be the price. It doesn’t really matter what the iPhone can do (or does not do) or the prices of any other phones, if people are willing to pay a premium for the iPhone, then the iPhone will have a premium price.

      • Stop It T Mobile

        It’s people like you that they are after….When I said features…that meant anything that can and will make one device different from another. The Gs1 is no Gs3!!

        Feature set surely does play a critical part in why one device may cost more or less than another….I’m all for positive business decisions, especially when they are inclusive to the consumer. This decision is all biased and rooted in keeping Apple in a predetermined position. All the years T-mobile has existed without any Apple products but now since they have one they wont to force it’s presence by changing the price to equal the GS4 and Note 2. Again, making it 629.99 will not make it equal to the newer phone. I am not in any way saying the I5 isn’t a worthy contender, but it shouldn’t receive a fake line placement just to reflect the influence of a brand or a new partnership. People who go out and purchase Ford automobiles don’t expect Lexus pricing…Accept you’re wrong buddy!!

        • bob90210

          So you’re mad that iPhone is a premium (priced) product? That’s fine, don’t buy since it’s not worth the money to you. But, as Apple’s sales numbers show, many people do think the phone is worth the price.

      • Dead on accurate with your comment

      • LOVE

        Price points are a marketing feature, and controlled by the distributor agreements. So features really have nothing to do with the price increase. Marketing 21.

    • Price isn’t related to “features” or whatever your opinion is of what is the best. Nor is it based on specs. Prices are based on what the consumer market is willing to pay. In the eyes of consumers the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 are the same premium type product and thus command the same type of price. If the sales slow or decrease then you will also see a decrease in price. The Galaxy S3 price has been reduced according to demand and how much people are willing to pay for it.
      Samsung and Apple feel like they can charge more for their products because they have built a brand that people are willing to pay higher prices for. If HTC successfully gets back into the game with the One, I fully expect them to price their next flagship accordingly.

    • LOVE

      You are very wise my son. Apple Probably put TMobile up to this, because God forbid A Samsung phone look better than the IPHONE 5 by having a higher price !!

  • De’Marcus Winbush

    So what about an iPhone 5 on Verizon to work for tmobile? If the iPhone 5 can work on AT&T why can’t it work on Tmobile. They are going to make sure you pay for the phone. It’s just best to buy the unlocked version out front and not have to worry about the EIP.

    • The Verizon iPhone 5 does work on T-Mobile. What are you talking about?

  • NinoBr0wn

    I would never want an iPhone, but this is BS. They shouldn’t even entertain the idea of a move like this being ok, but I suppose the iPhone draws enough of a crowd for people to not care anyway.

  • superg05

    i said it before me and others that tmobile was giving a discount out of there pockets no one believed us price went up near normal people flip while i laugh and point told ya

  • Dakota

    Stupid move. Uncarrier acting like every other carrier and loses marketing message of iphones much cheaper at Tmobile. Kinda knew theyd start sabotaging sooner than later

  • g89

    it’s not just a $50 difference for those with family plans. ($250 price increase for me)

    • LOVE

      Sorry. Dont Trust TMObile. They are the LIAR.

  • spup18

    Total BS

  • spup18

    I am mad because there was no warning. I would have bought one last week if I had known the price was going up. Typical T Mobile move. This is why customer service rankings are always so low. I don’t mind a price change, but at least tell us it was a promotional price. I am not leaving T Mobile, but I am going with the HTC One instead.

    • Jared

      Excellent choice. I have the One and hands down best phone on the market. I typically don’t walk around with tanning lotion, goo, bbq sauce, or whatever else in the Samsung ad makes people think that answering a phone call or text hands free is more important than taking 15 seconds and washing your damn hands.

      • spup

        Thanks for the review. “Goo”, I love it. lmao! I am tempted by the One, but really want a smaller screen. I’ll probably find an extra $50 looking through my buckets of goo.

  • Jody Smith

    With the forced unlimited everything plan and device payments T-Mobile comes out higher than I’d pay with AT&T and AT&T has better signal out here.

    Before someone screams that I can just buy my phones outright…. I don’t have $3000 to pay off 5 phones at once. Sorry but these full price MSRP’s are extremely inflated as it is.

    T-Mobile is only a good deal if you live in a very urban area, only have a single line to pay for and get used phones elsewhere.

    If I have to pay full price for a phone I’d just go prepaid on a carrier with a better network as it is.

    • Hmm. What AT&T plan does AT&T offer that’s cheaper than the Uncarrier plans? The cheapest individual rate plan is $90 which only gives 3GB of data plus overages.

      A comparable T-Mobile plan w/EIP payments gets you 2.5GB of data (no overage risk) for $80.
      Now if T-Mobile doesn’t work in your area then that’s another issue, but AT&T is more expensive just about anyway you slice it.

      • just me

        He’s going to come back at you with some outrageous thing like “I can share 700 minutes between our 5 lines and each of us only get 250mb and no texting and we save 15 dollars a month over t-mobile!” Some people would rather count their minutes and be limited to save a few dollars per month. I don’t get it, but it’s true.

        • 21stNow

          Some people with limited minutes plans don’t have to count minutes because we already know that we don’t talk much to begin with. I have the 500-minute EMP plan on one of my lines and have never come close to talking that amount of minutes. Off the top of my head, the most I’ve ever used was around 160 minutes. Since when did saving even a few dollars a month become a bad thing?

        • Just me

          Not a bad thing, I just don’t get it. I’d much rather pay the extra 10 bucks and know that if I find myself in a situation where I need to use my phone a ton within a given month, I won’t suddenly have a bill for 300 bucks. I’m sure that seems pretty silly to you, we just look at this stuff differently. I think the overall value of these new plans is perfect, and you think they should offer more options. Sorry if it seemed like I was belittling your perspective.

        • kalel33

          That’s where free WIFI calling comes into play. I have the 500 minute Value Plan and I never worry about minutes, because if I get closer then I can make the calls I make at home using WIFI calling and never come close.

    • Fraydog

      If the Googles are right and I have found who I think you are you’re nowhere near SoCal. This smells like Astroturf.

  • mgldan

    Part of me wonders whether Apple put the kibosh on TMo. Apple is infamously averse to sales–they only run one sale per year at the Apple Store, it’s on Black Friday, and the discounts are usually modest. On the Mac side, they have managed to prevent their third-party sellers from huge discounts over Apple Store prices as well.

    Maybe this pricing was always going to be temporary, but if TMo comes out and says “limited time offer,” it makes Apple goods sound cheap, and Apple really cares about its premium branding.

    • spup

      The phone is 8 months old! I have never used an iPhone, but am tempted by the idea of a smaller screen. The top Android phones are to big. Whatever happened to the smaller is better idea in electronics. I am tired of porn star phones.

      • mgldan

        Apple never discounts an iPhone until its successor is out. When the 4S came out, the 4 became $100 cheaper, and the 3GS became free. When the 5 came out, the 4S became cheaper and the 4 became free. It’s a pretty clear pattern.

        • kalel33

          Except during x-mas time when Walmart was selling the Iphone 5 for $70 cheaper than anyone else was.

      • tmo1138

        +1 for “porn star phones”

      • shack180

        Lmao porn star phones

  • Alan713

    RIP T-Mobile.

  • jenn from the block

    If you are already willing to pay for an overpriced phone, then why does a little price increase bother you?

    • kalel33

      If a little price increase doesn’t bother you then why aren’t you with a better carrier in terms of customer service and network for a little price increase? There’s a reason why people go to T-mobile and it’s for the price, which is the same reason I’m with them or otherwise, I’d be a Verizon customer.

  • VG

    Bad move by TMo. I had always thought the regular price of the 16GB iPhone 5 was $579.99 since TMo made it available. If this price was only a temporary promotion, then TMo should have originally listed it with a regular price of $629.99 with a temporary promotional discount of $50 while the promotion was in effect (as TMo has done on their other phones in the past). In thic case, it actually looks like TMo is raising the price by $50. This will annoy potential customers who were waiting for their contracts to expire at the other carriers before signing up with TMo!

    • LOVE

      YES> Exactly ON THE WEB IT SAID 579.99 full price

  • They ALWAYS said it was a promotional, limited time offer. Also, any rep would tell you so if you bothered to ask…

  • sharklover

    Forget about buying an 8 month old phone that was out of date when it was released. I just got a S4 upgrading from my S3 and it is amazing. The battery is much better, screen looks much better and does so many amazing things. Iphone 5 does not compare in anyway except it is more durable.

    • OnlineRefugee

      I agree. There’s a lot of phones better than the iPhone. I am using a Note 2 and absolutely love it. (I have to keep my right front pocket completely empty to carry the phone, but that’s a minor hassle compared to the the “GPS-Nav-sized” display, which I wanted in a phone).

      I still silently shake my head when seeing people using their iPhones. It is a nice looking phone and all, but a fixed battery and no microSD slot, no thanks.

  • OnlineRefugee

    $50 additional on such as expensive phone, that should not be an issue.

    Besides, in my town $50 is about three days of worker bee lunches, and two coffee breaks money.

  • greggers20

    try working for t mobile and having to tell people its 149.99 now…..