Apple announced a new phone and you might be in the process of figuring out which carrier you want to sign up for with a contract. After all, maybe you’ll put up with AT&T until your agreement’s done and get your phone unlocked then. But maybe you want to take advantage of T-Mobile’s BYO unlocked iPhone deal for $69.99/month with an iPhone 5. Maybe you want to take advantage of that offer now (their HSDPA+ network will support the iPhone eventually).
If you want to know the real, non-carrier subsidized cost of the iPhone 5, Apple has announced the prices on the comparison section of their store. The iPhone 5 with 16GB of storage will cost $649, $749 for 32GB, and $849 for 64GB. The true cost of these phones is in mid-range laptop territory, but on the other hand, if T-Mobile’s price for an unlimited data plan is $50 less than AT&T 6GB/month plan (AT&T doesn’t offer unlimited data anymore), that translates to a savings of $600 a year. On the downside, if T-Mobile’s HSDPA+ network isn’t broadcasting in the iPhone’s frequency in your area, you’ll be getting sluggish 2G speeds.
There are other factors too, such as international travel, resale value, and not having to rely on a company’s good faith to give you control of your phone. But at the bottom line, if you can stomach the upfront cost of an iPhone, carrier subsidies might not provide the very best deals.
Will you be getting your iPhone 5 unlocked or through a carrier? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.