Here’s a sight we haven’t seen for a while – long queues outside cell-phone stores as folk try to be the first get their hands on an iPhone on its release date. A funny glimpse of history repeating, though this time around it is the launch of the $99 iPhone 5 courtesy of T-Mobile that has seen customers queuing out the door to snap one up before they’re all gone.
This week saw T-Mobile at long last catch up with its biggest rivals by launching its own version of the iPhone 5, which comes with the unique plus-point of a pretty reasonable $99 price tag…unlocked. Not that that’s the end of the story of course – you’re then looking at $20 per month to pay for the rest of the balance of the iPhone 5, but the good news is you’re not locked into any specific data or talk plan.
This is the first big test for T-Mobile brand-new Un-Carrier business model, which has seen the network do away with standard contracts in exchange for these kind of hire-purchase schemes with low or zero down-payments for Smartphones. The move was apparently implemented in response to growing consumer distain for long-term contracts that lost their value after a few months or so and judging by the admirable lines outside T-Mobile stores this week, it might well have struck a chord with the masses.
After all, to launch the iPhone 5 right now when the iPhone 5S release date might be just around the corner is a pretty brave move by rights anyway.
Not that hysteria has been quite on the same level as that of the full scale iPhone release date shenanigans we’ve seen in years gone by, but with T-Mobile having until now never offered the iPhone, launch days had a habit of transforming the carrier’s stores into rather depressing ghost towns.
It remains to be seen whether an unlocked T-Mobile iPhone 5S becomes available on the network’s Un-Carrier plan later this year – something that may well be determined by the success or otherwise of their iPhone 5.