Leave it to TmoNews to receive first reports of anything T-Mobile. David Beren of TmoNews has received information that points to NanoSIM cards (the new form factor for SIM cards used in the iPhone 5) arriving in select T-Mobile stores. It’s unknown yet when these SIM cards will be available for direct use or when they’ll be available to other prepaid MVNOs, but that they’re available at all is great news for Apple users looking to switch to prepaid.
Unlocked iPhones are compatible with T-Mobile’s network today (regardless of place of purchase), and support will only increase as T-Mobile continues to refarm their network to support HSPA+ on the 1900 MHz band, the frequency utilized by AT&T for high-speed 4G access.
Total Cost of Ownership Analysis (Spoiler: Save 50%!)
To recap, let’s do a quick examination of the long-term cost:benefit of purchasing your new iPhone 5 at full price and using a prepaid carrier as opposed to buying one discounted from the carrier.
According to Gotta Be Mobile, after November 8th, the 32 GB iPhone 5 will be available at a full retail price of $549 without a contract. Purchasing before that date is $200 more for an off-contract price of $749. The 16 GB and 64 GB versions are also available for +/- $100, equaling $449 and $649 (after November 8) respectively. For the purposes of this example, I’ll use the $549 32 GB option purchased after November 8.
Update: Due to Monday brain fog, I somehow decided that there were 24 months in a year for a total of a 48 month contract term. Fixed.
|Verizon Wireless||AT&T||Straight Talk||Solavei|
|iPhone 5 (32 GB) Price||$299||$299||$549||$549|
|Monthly Service Rate||$100||$120||$45||$49|
|Data Allotment||2 GB||3 GB||2 GB||4 GB|
|Total Cost of Ownership||$2699||$3179||$1629||$1745|
The above examples were taken with real monthly rate plan pricing as of this post. All plans include unlimited talk and text. Activation fees and taxes were not included. As you can see, the total cost of ownership for a single iPhone 5 is drastically lower when buying it at full retail price and signing up with a prepaid service provider. In the case of AT&T, the total cost of ownership is
literally more than nearly double! In other words, for the cost of a single iPhone 5 on contract with AT&T, you could get two iPhone 5s at full retail price with individual prepaid plans and still save money. With those savings, it’s even financially beneficial to pay a large Early Termination Fee.
Are any of you waiting (im)patiently for these NanoSIM cards to be available to cheaply upgrade to the iPhone 5?