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1 day only: All T-Mobile phones free (with contract)

As long as supplies last, every phone in the T-Mobile store will be free Saturday with a family contract.

By Karen Datko Jun 15, 2010 7:25PM

Will the offer of a free phone -- any phone in the store! -- be enough to get you into a T-Mobile retail outlet on Saturday, June 19, for a little pre-Father's Day shopping? Or is this one of those deals in which you get what you pay for?

T-Mobile USA, which ranks fourth among domestic carriers, calls the sale unprecedented -- "the mother of all Father's Day offers." Sure, many phones are already free for those who commit to a contract. But Saturday's deal includes all 30 devices in the T-Mobile repertoire. For instance, the myTouch 3G Slide normally retails for $180. The HTC HD2 and Garminfone are usually 200 bucks.


Kevin Fitchard at Connected Planet called the move "crafty." "To overcome its recent falling subscriber numbers, T-Mobile is making a big one-day push for subscribers for its new 3G network,"  he wrote.


But is a free phone, no matter how sweet, really worth the terms and conditions? Here's how The Wall Street Journal described the offer:

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, T-Mobile retail stores will give the phones away to anyone signing up for a new calling plan with at least two members. Current customers who add a line to their existing individual or family plan also will be eligible for the phones, which will come with a two-year contract, according to a T-Mobile statement.

Additional details, from Computerworld and other sites:

  • Some phones are free only after rebate.
  • There's a maximum limit of five lines on the family plan.
  • A $35 activation fee applies for every user, as does an early-termination fee.

All told, said Matt Hamblen at Computerworld, "A family contract offering unlimited voice, texting and Web access can max out at $3,835, not including taxes or fees, for a family of five the first year."


Does this make sense for you and your family? It depends on how and how much you use your phones, what you're paying now, and service in your area. Fitchard advised, "The free subsidy is only really meaningful if you talk about smart phones, which are expensive enough that a two-year contract and rebate won't cancel out the sale price."

Already have iPhone 4 plans? T-Mobile USA chief operating officer Jim Alling told The Associated Press that his company's promotion was planned before the iPhone 4's release date of June 24 was announced.


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