Saturday, April 13, 2013

T-Mobile's iPhone debuts to some lines, some glitches

 photo Gun.jpg
T-Mobile launched its iPhone on Friday. The first native (meaning carrier-branded) iPhone on the network of the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier, the debut did produce some smallish lines, but also some glitches.

Reports around the country were that T-Mobile stores had lines, although not huge ones. BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk tweeted the photo above of a line at a T-Mobile location this morning.

Since T-Mobile has switched to its new Simple Choice or Uncarrier plans, its version of the iPhone 5 can be acquired for just $99, with two years of $20 monthly payments to cover the balance, or for free up front if you’re switching from another carrier and bring an iPhone 4 or 4S device in for trade (along with a $120 credit).

The launch didn't go glitch-less, however. Although activations went fine, the local T-Mobile store (San Francisco Bay Area) said that the trade-in promotion wasn't programmed into their registers yet. Neither, we were told, was the new Uncarrier plan, although we purchased a device outright so we were not personally privy to the havoc that might ensue for those who are in that boat.

Still, it took about 1 1/2 hours to complete the purchase, including waiting. We were told (on the phone) that the queue was 30 deep, but when we arrived we were told it was really just around 15 when the store opened. T-Mobile took names and called customers when their time to buy was available.

Although the device is about six months old, it's still producing queues. Although T-Mobile USA's smaller customer base isn't going to greatly improve Apple's bottom line, it does mean that Apple could maintain its smartphone dominance in the U.S., though not globally.

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