Rumor: Apple partnering with T-Mobile and AT&T on big prepaid push


A new report today claims that Apple is about to go on a big prepaid push, and is partnering with T-Mo and AT&T to do so.

9to5Mac reports that the Cupertino-based company is keen to boost iPhone sales by bolstering its purchase options. Customers will be able to buy an iPhone at full-price, and then connect the phone to a prepaid or monthly rolling plan, and do all of that from the Apple store.

Apple Stores will soon stock up on AT&T GoPhone pre-paid activation kits and SIM cards, and stores will use the existing T-Mobile SIM cards for customers that will choose T-Mobile pre-paid plans. Apple will begin training its store employees on the new pre-paid and month-to-month iPhone sales practices in the coming weeks. Sales staff will promote AT&T’s $60 per month pre-paid plan (with 2.5GB of internet data and unlimited talk and text) to those seeking AT&T plans, while the stores will offer $50/month (1GB LTE data) and $70/month (5GB LTE data) unlimited data plans to customers seeking T-Mobile devices.”

Activation will have to be done at time of purchase, unlike the current system where customers can buy an unlocked iPhone full-price, then take it away and sort out the carrier and monthly plan at a carrier store.

Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac has quickly become the foremost source of Apple insider info over the past couple of years, and given his track record of getting things right virtually every time, I’m inclined to go with him on this one. Will any of you be buying your iPhones from Apple and activating them on T-Mobile in one of its stores, or will you stick to the Magenta-falvored locations?

Via: 9to5Mac 

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  • Kevin Yeaux

    I wish I could do the EIP and phone trade-in or JUMP system at an Apple Store personally, though I understand why it’s not done today.

  • Stefan Naumowicz

    So this just means apple can do the activations now? Not exactly a big deal, I was expecting “big prepaid push” would entail something more dramatic, like offering discounts on the phones if purchased in full, or offering device financing that would be charged separately from the service.

    • Willie D

      Apple has done activations for years in the stores, just not for prepaid. For Prepay service, you had to buy the phone, then go to AT&T or T-Mobile and get the service.

      • Stefan Naumowicz

        Yeah, all they are doing us offering an alternative method to customers for activating their phones – not exactly a “big push” into prepaid

        • Paul

          One stop for prepaid rather than 2 stops. It makes a huge difference in making a sale.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          For someone about to drop $700 on a phone I really don’t think so, that big of a purchase is planned out ahead of time. The sale is made before the customer even walks in the store, and the fact that (as someone said above) “they have to walk from the apple store to the T-Mobile store at the mall” isn’t a significant factor in this sales process.

  • BlackJu

    “Customers will be able to buy an iPhone at full-price”. Yeah? Will they really? Maybe a few. Apple doesn’t have a product that caters to the prepaid market, IMO.

  • nougatmachine

    Being able to establish a ‘regular’ T-Mobile account and setup an EIP through Apple would be a much bigger deal. I was annoyed I couldn’t do it on my last purchase.

  • Paul

    I can see this as helping with ease of purchase in the Apple stores. Good move to make this available inside the store; one stop shop. Plus, it can help Magenta compete with Blue in the Apple store, even on the prepaid front. I’d be curious to see how the sales differ, even though it won’t be without fault since an employee might favor one over the other.

    • Dakota

      Tmobile has been nearly nonexistent at Apple stores

  • izick

    I have a feeling that AT&T will be pushing their activation through their new Cricket Wireless (formerly Aio Wireless) brand. They specifically created Aio to compete with T-Mobile and specifically purchased Leap Wireless to establish a wide reaching prepaid brand that has scale and brand recognition to compete with T-Mobile.

  • The white Rick James (see picture above) or a failed attempt at a Weird Al Yankovic.

  • ChitChatCat

    I guess it will save people the often long and treacherous walk from the Apple Store to the T-Mobile store at the mall. WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE, Y’ALL.

  • Marcoshay

    4G has been turned on here in Yuma, AZ. No sight of LTE yet..

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      Strange they would upgrade to hspa and not LTE, I’d have to imagine that would arrive relatively soon

    • Pha

      Do you have an LTE capable device?

      • Marcoshay

        Just saw this, yes I do. iPhone 5. Only about half of town is on 4G so they should be working on that. Not sure if I’ll get a text from tmo saying i’ve been upgraded

  • randian

    Odd that they wouldn’t be offering all of T-Mobile’s prepaid plans, including the $80 unlimited LTE plan.

  • redman12

    I just switched to prepaid on T-Mobile. Used to be on family plan. 100 mins, unlimited text, 5GB data plan. I barely use voice call. You don’t get hit with overages if you go over 100 mins, you just have to reload it. :)

  • redman12

    I just switched to prepaid on T-Mobile. Used to be on family plan. 100 mins, unlimited text, 5GB data plan for $30 monthly (auto-pay). I barely use voice call. You don’t get hit with overages if you go over 100 mins, you just have to reload it. :)

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      By far the best value in wireless, especially for Savvy users who need more than 100 minutes and just use VoIP apps (Skype, groove, etc) and essentially get an unlimited everything plan for $30/month.

  • Rick Rudge

    I would prefer to pay cash for an unlocked iPhone, and then pay my $100/year in Pay-As-You-Go. That’s the ultimate in “Uncarrier” as far as I’m concerned. ;-)

  • Jessie

    This would be detrimental to T-Mobile stores. Especially the ones at Mall’s where there is a lot of tourist traffic.