T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere confirmed that the carrier will finally get the iPhone next year, joining the other three major U.S. wireless operators in selling the signature Apple device. The addition of the iPhone will help T-Mobile fill a glaring hole in its device lineup and better compete against its larger rivals for customers.
In a prior, vaguer announcement, T-Mobile said only that it had agreed with Apple to sell products together in 2013.
Speaking at an investor conference in Germany on Thursday, Legere also said the company planned to end subsidies for smartphones, replacing them with a new system in which customers would “pay an upfront fee for their devices and then pay the balance of the device in affordable monthly installments.”
While that would seem to put T-Mobile at a disadvantage, he maintained that the carrier would not be adversely affected, since it would still be offering customers fair pricing with low out-of-pocket expenses.
U.S. consumers have grown accustomed to the subsidized model for smartphones, paying $200 at most upfront for handsets, and the balance over the life of a typical two-year contract. Breaking from that approach is a risky step for T-Mobile.