Steve Kovach/Business Insider
T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
When T-Mobile first started selling the iPhone 5 this spring, it did so with a special promotional offer. Customers could get the phone for $99 down plus $20 per month for 24 months.
So it wasn't much of a surprise when T-Mobile increased the price of the iPhone 5 to $149.99 and $20 per month for 24 months a few months later. The promotion appeared to be over.
But the price just changed again. As of July 3, it costs $145.99 down plus $21 per month for 24 months to get an iPhone 5 on T-Mobile. That means the down payment has dropped, but the monthly fee has gone up by $1, or a total of $24 over the course of the agreement, effectively making the iPhone 5 more expensive than before.
Why has the price been fluctuating so much in a few short months?
T-Mobile said the price increase for the iPhone 5 is because the original promotion ended. Here's the canned statement we got from the company when we asked why the iPhone 5 price keeps changing:
As America’s Un-carrier, T-Mobile is committed to introducing the hottest new smartphones at unbeatable promotional prices – but we all know promotions are temporary. The great news here is that well-qualified customers, on approved credit, can today buy iPhone 5 from T-Mobile for $145.99 down.
But T-Mobile wouldn't say what the "normal" price is for the iPhone 5. A company rep also wouldn't say how long this promotion is good for and whether or not the price will go up again. We've asked for more clarification and will update if we hear back.
It's also important to note that this is part of T-Mobile's new pricing structure for plans and devices. Instead of subsidizing the cost of the phone up front like other carriers, T-Mobile lets you pay off the phone gradually over time. As a result, its service plans are a bit cheaper than the plans on AT&T and T-Mobile. You also get the option to upgrade to a new phone whenever you want, as long as you pay off your first phone.
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