T-Mobile offers iPhone 5 at no upfront payment in trade-in deal

Users will be able to trade in their old iPhone 4 and 4S for a credit of up to US$120

T-Mobile USA is trying to boost the number of iPhone users on its network by offering the iPhone 5 without down payment to people who bring in their iPhone 4 and 4S smartphones for a trade-in which could also earn them up to US$120 in credits.

The iPhone 5 will be available nationwide on Friday at T-Mobile owned retail stores as well as its online store. The carrier announced in March that customers could get an iPhone 5 for $100 down payment, plus monthly payments of $20 for 24 months. The new trade-in deal hence knocks of the about $100 down payment for the device, though the monthly payments continue.

The trade-in offer, which runs through Father's Day on June 16, also provides customers on the Simple Choice Plan with up to $120 in credits, which will depend on the trade-in value of the device, and can be used toward "monthly payments, an existing T-Mobile bill, or the purchase of accessories or another device," the operator said on Wednesday.

The U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom, which is offering the iPhone for the first time in the U.S., has been trying to woo customers from its competitors like AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel by offering the iPhone 5 without usual annual contracts.

It announced last month a plan called Simple Choice Plan that starts with a base rate of $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web with 500MB of 4G data. Consumers can add 2GB of 4G data for $10 per month per line or get unlimited 4G data for an additional $20 per month per line, the company said.

T-Mobile USA had about 34 million mobile customers by the end of the first quarter, making it the fourth largest operator in the country after AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. On Friday, shareholders of MetroPCS Communications, a small mobile operator, will vote on a merger with T-Mobile, a deal that was cleared by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission last month, and will boost T-Mobile's subscriber base.

Deutsche Telekom said in December that T-Mobile USA had entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013.

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John Ribeiro

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