updated 01:16 pm EST, Tue January 29, 2013
T-Mobile strategy could spread to other US carriers
The CEOs of AT&T and Verizon have expressed interest in T-Mobile's plan to drop subsidies and offer the option of buying phones through monthly installments, a Reuters report says. "That's something we've looked at on several occasions. I kind of like that idea," says AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson. "It's something we're going to be watching."
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam calls the concept "very intriguing," but worries that shoppers might not want to pay full price for a phone. T-Mobile is planning to offset the initial burden on shoppers by keeping monthly bills down. During the past year, in fact, the company has been positioning itself as a carrier of choice for people who already have an unlocked device, such as a Nexus 4 or an iPhone 5.
It remains to be seen if T-Mobile will apply the monthly installment option to iPhones when it starts its own sales of them later this year. Apple has enjoyed success advertising the iPhone under a $199 pricepoint, regardless of the subsequent costs to buyers, and may be hesitant to let T-Mobile complicate its marketing.