T-Mobile offers $5-a-month iPhone 6S leasing plan

This marks the lowest monthly rate for an iPhone in an increasingly competitive environment. The carrier also confirmed it would sell the Apple Watch on Friday.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read

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The iPhone 6S in a colorful array. Apple

T-Mobile is pulling out all the stops to lure in iPhone fans.

The nation's third-largest wireless carrier on Wednesday said customers willing to trade in a smartphone can turn to its Jump On Demand leasing program and pay $5 a month for a base-model iPhone 6S or $9 a month for an iPhone 6S Plus. The monthly rate swells to $20 a month if you don't have a phone to trade in.

This marks the lowest monthly rate for an iPhone in an increasingly competitive environment as carriers compete not just against each other, but against Apple and its own upgrade program. T-Mobile has followed the path of Sprint in offering device leases, which cost less than a typical monthly installment plan but essentially means you rent the device.

The Bellevue, Washington, company has been particularly aggressive since this month's iPhone launch, with CEO John Legere tweeting that early orders for the device are up 30 percent. The company added that the introductory price of $5 will hold as long as the customer remains with the carrier.

Sprint's leasing program costs $15 a month when you trade in a phone. AT&T and Verizon don't offer leases on their devices.

T-Mobile, which passed Sprint as the No. 3 carrier in the nation, has been on a tear as it uses a mix of promotions and features to lure in new customers. For the third quarter, the company has added at least 2.1 million net new customers, as well as more than 1 million customers with higher credit ratings that pay at the end of the month -- a group known as postpaid subscribers.

While the $5 option for a 16-gigabyte iPhone 6S looks attractive, it's important to note that the limited storage could severely limit how many photos and videos you can take and how many apps you can load onto the device. When considering an iPhone, it might be smarter to look at the 64 GB version.

Separately, T-Mobile confirmed that it would be selling the Apple Watch on Friday, following Sprint's confirmation that it too would be carrying the wearable device that day.