iPhone 12 Starts at $799 With T-Mobile and Sprint Activation After All, SIM-Free Model Still Starts at $829

Earlier this week, Apple's online store indicated that T-Mobile, Sprint, and SIM-free models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini would start at $829 and $729 respectively in the United States, which was $30 extra compared to AT&T and Verizon models.

iphone 12 colors trio
However, coinciding with the start of pre-orders for the iPhone 12 today, it turns out that T-Mobile and Sprint are now offering customers the same "instant discount" of $30 with activation. This means the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini now start at Apple's advertised $799 and $699 prices respectively with activation on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint.

SIM-free models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini continue to start at $829 and $729 respectively for use with any carrier.

It is unclear why the "instant discount" for T-Mobile and Sprint models showed up three days after AT&T and Verizon models, but it has certainly created a confusing situation for customers. Pre-orders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are available now, while iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max pre-orders will begin Friday, November 6.

There is no price discrepancy with iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models, which start at $999 and $1,099 respectively regardless of the model selected.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

Jman13 Avatar
13 weeks ago
Still garbage that they advertise the price at $799 when it's actually $829. Because the carriers will charge you an upgrade fee, you're going to pay that $30 regardless, and it's so bogus, given that when you buy a phone outright the carrier needs to do NOTHING. You just put your existing SIM in and you're good.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
moabal Avatar
13 weeks ago
I do not really care what Apple decides to charge for the iPhone. However, going on stage and saying something starts at $699 when it really starts at $729 (iPhone 12 Mini) is just straight disingenuous.

They are more than welcome to partner with the carriers to subsidize part of the phone. However, just say the proper price of the phone! I cannot believe Apple would go this low.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
13 weeks ago
Guess the mobile providers are eating that $30 - getting contract lockin as a return I suppose. Anyone who wants one direct from Apple pays a $30 tax (on top of the ~25% price increase over the 11 and removal of the charger and removal of the ear buds). Gotta say that sucks - Apple should make them the same.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deathcab Avatar
13 weeks ago
I think this is Apple’s way of trying to (indirectly) share in part of the carrier’s activation fees.

Pretty bad look from Apple to tie even more closely to the carriers and disappointing when there’s so much potential for Apple to instead move further away from them (they’re basically just commodity / utility providers at this point so why pander to them?). I always held out hope Apple would eventually become its own MVNO but that seems unlikely at this point.


There is a price bump compared to iPhone 11 last year, right?

Yes. Price for the unlocked 6.1” iPhone 12 is $130 higher than the unlocked 6.1” iPhone 11 at launch (not factoring in the the “value” of the accessories omitted from the 12 that were free in the box with the 11).
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChipperVW Avatar
13 weeks ago
So no USB-C charger, no headphones, and a $30 price increase?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AceFernalld Avatar
13 weeks ago


Yeah, if you buy the unlocked version its a ~28% price increase over the base 11 last year.

Am I missing something? $829 / $699 = 1.186
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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