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Nov
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Update: Public Service Announcement: I'm an idiot. My sincere apologies to everyone. This post was totally wrong. I misread the PR and really had no idea an "Unlimited Value Plan" was special or cheaper.

So let's try this again.

T-Mobile is having a sale! "Magenta Saturday" is one day only, this Saturday, November 19th. You will save money, but it's complicated. Pay attention.

T-Mobile has two totally different sets of plans. There's "Classic Unlimited," which is a regular cell phone plan. You get a two year contract with a subsidized phone. Then there's the "Unlimited Value Plan" which is usually about $20 cheaper a month, but they don't subsidize your device.

On "Magenta Saturday" they will give you a mail-in rebate for a phone or tablet on an Unlimited Value Plan, and they will add the balance of the device cost to your bill, split up over 20 months.

Here's the full chart:

Untitled-2

"Equipment Installment Plans: On approved credit and 0 percent APR. Down payment and unfinanced portion required at purchase. Remaining balance paid in 20 monthly installments. Total post-rebate price of each device equals down payment amount plus monthly payment amount times 20."

So, lets examine the GSII. It's $49.99 up front for the phone, after rebate, and they tack $20 a month onto your bill, which is $20 a month cheaper than a regular plan, for 20 months. That covers the rest of the phone cost. If you stick out the 2 year contact for the full 24 months you end up with a $20 a month savings in the last 4 months, plus, of course, the rebate.

Still with me? Maybe this will help:

$220 SGSII after rebate + $80 "Classic Unlimited" plan over 24 months: $2140

$50 SGSII after rebate + $60 "Unlimited Value" plan over 24 months + $20 a month for 20 months: $1890

So eventually, somewhere, somehow, you will get $250 off the life of a GSII if you stick it out for 24 months. Cleared up now? Whew.

You can see my earlier failure in its full glory below. Sorry. And thanks, commenters, for the corrections.

Public Service Announcement: If you happen to be walking by a T-Mobile store this Saturday and see something about a "Magenta Saturday Sale," keep walking.

This hit our inbox today:

“T-Mobile wants to take the hassle out of Black Friday shopping with ‘Magenta Saturday’ by providing consumers with great deals a week early ― and without having to wait in line early in the morning,” said John Clelland, senior vice president of marketing, T-Mobile USA.

That's really sweet and all, but there aren't actually any "great deals" here. This is a straight up ripoff. Check out the included table and fine print:

[see chart, above]

"Equipment Installment Plans: On approved credit and 0 percent APR. Down payment and unfinanced portion required at purchase. Remaining balance paid in 20 monthly installments. Total post-rebate price of each device equals down payment amount plus monthly payment amount times 20."

This isn't a sale, this is a monthly payment plan for your phone. The GSII, for instance, will cost you $200 down (net down payment + rebate), plus $20 a month for 20 months, minus the $150 rebate. That's a total of $450, on a two year contract. You can get a GSII from T-mo's website right now for $220 (after rebate).

How is that a "great deal" or even close to the kind of deals people expect on Black Friday? The other phones are similarly ridiculously expensive. You can gasp at the other crazy prices on their website.

What's your deal, T-Mobile? If your in-store advertising is anything like your press release, you are seriously misleading your customers. A $230 markup is not a sale. Not cool.

T-Mobile to Hold “Magenta Saturday” Sale With Smartphones and Tablets for as Little as $0–$49.99 Net Down

On Nov. 19, T-Mobile will help holiday shoppers escape the dark lines of Black Friday and help them step up to data and the smartphone revolution with minimal upfront cost.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Nov. 15, 2011 — On Saturday, Nov. 19, T-Mobile USA, Inc. will celebrate its “Magenta Saturday” sale. For one day only, consumers will have the opportunity to purchase any smartphone or select mobile broadband device, including two featured tablets ― the Dell Streak 7 or T-Mobile G-Slate ― for a net down payment of $49.99 (U.S.) or less after a mail-in rebate card.

New customers will be eligible for this deal when they sign up for a qualifying two-year agreement on any of the company’s Unlimited Value™ plans with 2GB or higher of full-speed data, all running on America’s Largest 4G Network. Existing customers also have the opportunity to take advantage of this great offer if they are eligible for upgrade (18 months tenure or greater) and switch from a Classic to an eligible Value plan.

“T-Mobile wants to take the hassle out of Black Friday shopping with ‘Magenta Saturday’ by providing consumers with great deals a week early ― and without having to wait in line early in the morning,” said John Clelland, senior vice president of marketing, T-Mobile USA. “T-Mobile continues to make it easier for consumers to upgrade to 4G data and join the smartphone revolution by making our best devices more affordable and pairing them with some of the best value plans in the industry.”

In July, T-Mobile launched its featured Value plan on America’s Largest 4G Network, with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data ― with 2 GB of high-speed data ― for just $49.99 per line for two lines with a two-year contract agreement.

The following is a sample list of some of the premium devices available through the promotion at participating retail locations nationwide, including the new HTC Radar™ 4G, Samsung Galaxy S™ II, HTC Amaze™ 4G and T-Mobile G-Slate:

[see chart, above]

For more information about T-Mobile’s new unlimited Value plans and the “Magenta Saturday” sale, visithttp://deals.t-mobile.com/unlimited-value-plan.

T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network not available everywhere. See coverage details at T-Mobile.com.

1Equipment Installment Plans: On approved credit and 0 percent APR. Down payment and unfinanced portion required at purchase. Remaining balance paid in 20 monthly installments. Total post-rebate price of each device equals down payment amount plus monthly payment amount times 20.

About T-Mobile USA:

Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG (OTCQX: DTEGY). By the end of the third quarter of 2011, approximately 129 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group — 33.7 million by T-Mobile USA — all via a common technology platform based on GSM and UMTS and additionally HSPA+ 21/HSPA+ 42. T-Mobile USA’s wireless products and services help empower people to connect to those who matter most. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile USA among the highest in numerous regions throughout the U.S. in wireless customer care and call quality. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. For further information on Deutsche Telekom, please visitwww.telekom.de/investor-relations.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • Ron Amadeo

    My sincere apologies to anyone who saw the first (and second) (wrong) version of this story. The fine print got me. I think it's designed to do that. =P

    • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

      You realize that it is for a completely different plan configuration? The T-Mobile Value plans remove the $20/mo subsidy from the rate in return for being able to split up the retail price into monthly payments based on how much of a down payment you make.

      The online deal applies to the Classic plan. This deal is for the Value plan. With the Value plan, you'd have to pay $250 down with $15/mo for 20 months. This deal cuts it down to $50 after rebate card. You save at least $200 this way.

  • Matt

    You miss the point. T-Mo now lets you buy the phone outright, and does not include and hidden subsidy surcharge on your monthly bill. This is the way ALL carriers should do it.
    So instead of $79.99 a month, your plan goes to $59.99 and your phone payment is itemized, AND it stops after just twenty of those 24 months of the contract.
    It's unquestionable a good deal. You should really fix this article.

    EDIT: I think the key piece of info you are missing is that getting your phone in this manner qualifies you for a Value Plan, roughly $20 a month cheaper than a "Classic" plan. So your TOTAL bill is the same for 20 months, and then it's actually $20 cheaper for four months. So over the course of the two years, this method of buying a phone is $80 cheaper.

  • Matt

    You're actually trashing one of the BEST, most SANE pricing agreements any of the carriers has put forth in the last 5 years. Please fix it.

  • jdm4u

    Well, the unlimited value plan is mainly for people who want a cheap plan, but the phones AREN'T subsidized, you have to either pay up front cash prices for the phones, or bring your own phone. So if you think a about it from that point of view, the Galaxy S II is 529.99 straight up, unsubsidized. With this payment plan/sale event, the Galaxy S II will end up being $450. So people will be saving $80.00 on the phone, which isn't bad. It's not the best discount, but it's not the worst. Also with the 2GB unlimited classic and value plans, is a $20 difference, so those $20 will go towards the phone.

  • NeilB

    Yep - this is for the value plan which is cheaper than the usual classic plans. Ron, would you correct the emotions in this article and report the correct situation?

  • wirbly

    Whoa, point missed. Mistakes happen, but please make sure your facts are straight before introducing the trash talk.

  • CyberDude

    The only disapointing change is that I checked with T-Mobile earlier today, and the GS2 is $15/mo for 20 months on the value plan, and it looks like they plan to raise it to $20/mo when this sale kicks in. So it looks like they are increasing the price of the phone by $100 by this weekend, which is a bite, but outside that I love the concept behind the value plans..

  • Matt

    Thank you! For fixing it :)

  • William D

    I love how its like "ON APPROVED CREDIT" - I wasnt approved to make payments to a phone and be locked into a 2-year contract, but I was approved to be locked into a 2 year contract and get my phone for FREE. So the deal really is just signing a contract.

  • Paul

    Hmm. 400 for a galaxy sii phone outright + 40/mo unlimited talk/text/web plan from simple mobile, using tmobiles network = 1360

    So 2140 - 1360 = 780 with no contractual obligations. Same phone, same network. Ssll the phone for 250-300 in 8 to 12 months and pick up an upgraded phone for 150 more and now you're not stuck with the same phone for 2 years. I just picked up the mytouch 4g slide for the wife for 275, sold her hd2 phone (android modded) for 175.

    • Mark

      That's interesting. I guess if you have the money up front that's not a bad option. $40/mo unlimited talk text and 3g web though; if you want 4g web, it's $60/mo

      So that could potentially be:
      $400 + (60*24) = 1840

      With this weekends sale, $1890 isn't a bad deal and it's less up front. May be worth the extra $50 after 2 years.

      That's if you wanted 4g web and started with a $400 phone, there are deals to be had on other Android phones. Some people would be perfectly happy with regular 3G as well.

      There's also the fact that T-Mobile MVNO's can't use T-Mobile's agreements with other carriers. T-Mobile worked it out with AT&T to provide roaming coverage in areas T-Mobile doesn't have coverage. If you're on T-Mobile, they don't charge for it (Only T-Mobile post-paid customers, T-Mobile prepaid can't use these roaming agreements either) but Simple Mobile can't use these agreements, therefore your phone becomes a brick.

      Food for thought.

    • jdm4u

      Isn't Simple mobile capped at 1gb though? That was the main reason why I haven't gone with them, their data is capped really low.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        T-Mo's Value 2GB isn't that great either.

        • Mark

          I've exceeded 1gb on Simple Mobile on many occasions. Not sure about 2gb. They're 'cap' isn't set in stone, I've read so many conflicting reports its hard to tell. But their cap is the same as T-Mobiles, once you hit it, they slow you down. Shouldn't be a complete disconnect.

  • lettcco

    can I take advantage of this deal if I am going with their monthly 4g plan, specifically their $30 for 5GB plus 100 mins plan?

  • Joe Mason

    Actually, another correction needs to be made in regards to the "potential savings".
    The value plan with 2 GB high speed data is $30 bucks cheaper than the classic plan. So on top of the other savings, you can save an addition $10.00 per month, if you go with the 2gb.

    Value plan with 2GB = 49.99 + 20 = 69.99 a month versus 79.99 with classic plan. The total effective savings come to $520 over the 24 month life if you were to purchase the 9900...
    This is a good deal.

    • Joe Mason

      Correction, the 49.99 rate is only available if you get 2 phones. It's 59.99 for individual...

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