T-Mobile USA today introduced a limited time promotion offering customers a prepaid MasterCard with a new smartphone purchase starting February 1. The card is worth 11.2% of the smartphone's retail price, which T-Mobile advertises as covering more than the sales taxes that a customer would pay.
The deal is valid on every new smartphone that T-Mobile sells, including iPhones. Each smartphone must be activated with a T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice Unlimited 4G LTE plan—up to 12 lines qualify for the deal. The prepaid MasterCard must be redeemed within 30 days and it will take 6-8 weeks to arrive.
Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced that the price of its T-Mobile ONE plan now includes sales taxes and all other additional charges. In other words, the price you see is the price you pay—that's $70 for the first line, $50 for the second line, and $20 for each additional line. AutoPay is required.
The carrier also launched a "Tax Rebate" promotion earlier this month. Every customer who switches to T-Mobile from another carrier will receive a $150 prepaid MasterCard, with no device trade-in required—up to 12 lines qualify for the deal. The promotion cannot be combined with Carrier Freedom.
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* Buy the iPhone cash-and-carry, unlocked. Bought the iPhone SE and love it.
* Enrolled with T-Mobile's monthly prepaid with 5G LTE "unlimited" data + unlimited text + 100minutes voice+WiFi calling (never use voice calling). (This is the so-called "Walmart" T-Mobile plan, although I have never, ever set foot physically or digitally on a Walmart site.)
* Includes personal hotspot + data maximizer (free 480p video) + free music streaming
* Buy the monthly refresh at Target, digitally using my REDcard, with 5% off, no taxes, no fees = $30-month - 5% (My state + federal taxes and fees, which I avoid, would add more than 18% to the bill. Precisely, state=11.70% + federal=6.64% total=18.34%)
* I set my iPhone Reminders app to alarm me pair of days before the refresh is due, which is 30 days thereafter the payment, modulo a weekend.
Unless one has a family of four or more, I usually find these specials useless. But that is my use case.
And the T-Mobile service in the my region where I live has proven to be good, and great sometimes. But, this is key to me, the savings keep on coming monthly.
If I'm not mistaken, Carrier Freedom used to be separated into two parts - up to $350 per line to pay for the ETF of a ported line, and up to $300 or more for a trade-in of a device. People used to keep their old iPhones, and they'd get $350 after switching, to which they'd usually get more cash by selling their iPhone locally, or unlocking and using it with T-Mobile.
And if I'm reading the details of Carrier Freedom now, it's up to $650 or more, but it requires a trade-in and a purchase or financing of a new device. And since the purchase is done at the time of switching, you cannot use the new Tax Freedom promotion with it.
In essence, this may be for straight-up new subscribers (i.e. expanding a family plan), or people who are off contract with their current carriers and don't have ETFs that would need to be paid off.