Apple is not going to add T-Mobile to the list of carriers that can offer the iPhone, but that's not stopping this carrier from doing everything it can to bring in iPhone users.
"Today, we don't sell the iPhone, but we do have something worth selling to people who have one," said Suzanne Lowry, T-Mobile's vice president of marketing. "Our message to iPhone customers is simple: bring your unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile and save."
In recent months, the carrier has been enhancing its 4G network so that it can offer high-speed wireless service for models originally designed for rival AT&T. This 4G service is currently available in Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington, DC, and the New York metro area. In places where this change has not yet taken effect, users are limited to much slower 2G connections. Nevertheless, there are already more than a million T-Mobile subscribers with an iPhone.
Many phones are sold "locked", which means they can only be used with one carrier. People interested in using Apple's smartphone on T-Mobile have two choices: they either need to get AT&T to unlock their device or buy a unit directly from Apple that's already unlocked.
T-Mobile's argument why consumers should go to this hassle is direct: lower monthly service fees. It promises subscribers an unlimited talk, text and data plan for $70. Neither AT&T nor Verizon offer new subscribers unlimited data plans any more, but a plan that includes 4GB of data and unlimited voice and text is $110 a month.
T-Mobile -- the smallest of the big four U.S. carriers -- is sending iPhone 4S units to its retail stores so its salespeople can demonstrate to potential subscribers what it's like to use an iPhone on its network. The carrier is stopping short of unlocking users phones for them, but AT&T will perform this service for its subscribers who are in good standing and have paid off any subsidy they own on the device.
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