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T-Mobile phones may be moving to 3-year payment plans, starting with Black Friday deals

Image via T-Mobile (w/ edits)
Image via T-Mobile (w/ edits)
T-Mobile looks like it has some great deals on some of the best smartphones released this year. Handsets like the iPhone XR and Galaxy S9 can be had for free, but reading the fine print shows a few caveats. In addition to activating two new lines and trading in an eligible device, the phones are only free because of a bill credit that is granted over a 36-month period, which effectively locks consumers into a three-year contract.

Black Friday is usually a great time to catch a killer deal on a new smartphone, but as DroidLife points out, be sure to read the fine print. T-Mobile is offering several devices at drastically reduced prices… as long as your willing to keep your T-Mobile contract for three years.

T-Mobile is offering some of the latest handsets for free, including the iPhone XR, Samsung Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6T, LG V40, and LG G7. Of course, there are some hoops potential consumers will need to jump through. First of all, these phones only come free if the buyer activates two new lines. Secondly, the free price tag also requires the trade-in of an eligible device (which differs from phone to phone). Lastly, many of these are only free because of a monthly bill credit that will be paid out over the subsequent 36 months.

It’s that last caveat that is drawing the ire of some eagle-eyed deal hunters. It’s not uncommon for carriers to sell phones on a 24-month installment plan; the four major providers have been doing this for years. AT&T has pushed their installment plan to 30 months, possibly to make their prices look more attractive as the total price of the handset is split over 6 more months than competitors’.

But 36 months? That’s three years, which is an eternity in the smartphone world. To put that in perspective, if you had received a phone on a 36-month installment plan 3 years ago, it likely would have been something like the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, OnePlus 2, Moto X Pure, or iPhone 6s. While each of these handsets is still usable today, they feel ancient compared to the snappy, sleek, and sophisticated smartphones we have today. On top of that, considering how fast some smartphone-centric technologies are progressing (like foldable displays), today’s handsets will feel long in the tooth in three years time.

If you were looking to get a free smartphone from T-Mobile, go for it. Just keep in mind that you will have to keep that device for a full 36 months in order to actually get it for free. As always, read the fine print.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 11 > T-Mobile phones may be moving to 3-year payment plans, starting with Black Friday deals
Sam Medley, 2018-11-18 (Update: 2018-11-18)