Getting your hands on Google's latest iconic Android handset seems to just get harder and harder as the holidays approach. Today, T-Mobile has the device back in stock yet again, however, the subsidized price is now bizarrely raised to $400 with a 2-year contract for existing customers. Um, T-Mobile...what?


This is still $100 off the "Suggested retail" price, which hasn't changed, but it's still $50 more expensive than buying it from Google outright. It's unclear if this is a mistake on T-Mobile's part, or if the company has been forced to raise the price for economic reasons. It's also possible that existing T-Mobile customers can get a lower price depending on the state of their contract, but this requires a log in to see.

Update: At least one reader with an existing family plan on T-Mobile was able to purchase the phone for $200 to upgrade one line. So, it looks like existing customers can get the old, much lower price if they're due for an upgrade. However, the site still shows new customers the $399 price all the way through to payment processing, so we wouldn't bet against this being a price bump.


Either way, this thing is quickly becoming hotter than Tickle Me Elmo for holiday purchasing. Or whatever parents are buying for their kids this decade.

Source: T-Mobile

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/OpenIntro Eric Vaughan

    Explain to me how that is $100 off of the suggested retail price, when Google sells it for $349? Unlocked. Wouldn't $349 be the suggested retail price?

    • http://ridukkokun.wordpress.com/ Dukkokun

      I can't speak for US, but LG said that HIS suggested price is 500$/€, more or less (in Italy initally should have been 549€, only to decide later not to sell it. period.). So yeah, Google, maybe you should check better on your partners. Because, you know, LG's shit and greedy, and you DON'T want to link that image to the Nexus line.

      • Thomas

        I think it was the condition for LG even making the phone, they didn't want to get their own Optimus G significantly undercut, and they certainly wanted a higher profit margin than the one Google/LG gets from the Play Store.

        There was an interview where one of their economists or marketing guys discussed how they had negotiated the low price, i'm sure that the low price in 8 territories didn't come without some compromises.

      • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

        Alls fair in reality. Google is subsidizing the price of the phone from the play store. Or do you really think its possible to make money on a phone with those specs for $300-350? Its not.

        LG needs to make money on the phone. Google does not. Apple double dips on the phone by making bank on the phone and then skimming on everything sold in the market. Google isn't double dipping but betting that taking a ding on the phone will be recouped on the market (the Amazon model).

        LG doesnt have a secondary revenue source. Being said, T-mobile seems to be double dipping. Unless they are actually paying $500 for that phone they are jacking up the retail and then expecting profit from revenues over time.

        • http://ridukkokun.wordpress.com/ Dukkokun

          No, it's cool, but it should have been specified from the beginning. Like, 349$ is Google MSRP.
          Other than that, deciding to NOT sell a phone altogether's not a good business strategy.

  • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

    I just got mine today. I can safely say, hand on my heart, it is the best phone I have ever owned. Even if I do decide to get a HTC Deluxe (the European variant of the J Butterfly or the DROID DNA) when Europe get it next year, I am keeping this phone. It's just...wow. Love it.

    • thepope

      Agreed. This phone is awesome. No substitute. The pure android experience makes it that much better. I considered a note 2 with job...not a chance..that's not jb..that's touch wiz junk. I used to like touch wiz...before I tried pure Google. Samsung should give you an option without the junk ware.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Drizzy-Rojas/100000186636833 Alexander Drizzy Rojas

    Not surprised T-Mobile always puts ridiculous prices in their high end phones. That's why I an buying it off contract with Google.

  • chris125

    Doing what they do best, jacking up the prices of phones compared to everyone else

  • Danny Holyoake

    Lol. I wish Americans wouldn't fall so blindly for this 'subsidisation' gimmick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

      This American will be kicking the habit in a couple of months*

      *Providing that the N4 is back in stock from Google by end of Jan.

    • Scott Breitbach

      To be fair, for coverage reasons many Americans don't have any other choice.

    • UniBroW

      I got my S3 for $100 shortly after release and my monthly bill, after taxes is $51. You're not beating that with prepaid and if you are not by much.

      • Klaine

        Well I got my Galaxy Nexus for free and am paying 46.00 after tax with no contract so I can switch at any time

      • http://twitter.com/nickbrouhard Nick Brouhard

        What provider/plan are you using?

        • UniBroW

          I have Sprint, on a family plan with 1,500 minutes and unlimited data/texting between all of us. Total bill is $255.11 every month for 5 smartphones and we don't come close to using the 1,500 minutes. I also get a 22% employee discount through my job on the first line, but that only amounts to $24.20 so if you took that away and split it, like i currently do, it would only add another $4.80 to each line.

          Just grabbed my father a Galaxy S III, from sprint, for $48 on Amazon (add in the crappy $36 activation fee) and it's still a great deal.

          • http://twitter.com/nickbrouhard Nick Brouhard

            I also have a Sprint family plan (2 lines though). With my 25% discount I pay $145.29/month. Overall the price isn't all that awful for what we get, in theory: 1500 minutes, unlimited data/sms/mms.

            The problem is that with such slow data speeds, I can barely use the phone for anything other than calls/texts when I'm not on Wi-Fi.

            I am no longer under contract, but I am unsure if I want to renew and be with Sprint another 2 years. I'm beginning to think it might be worth sacrificing unlimited data for something a little more reliable (and possible lower monthly payments).

          • UniBroW

            I don't disagree, I was actually thinking of ditching them but Long Island is supposed to get LTE soon*. Figured I'd give them one more shot and if they don't have better speeds here soon or when my contract is up I'm leaving Sprint.

            It also helps that they gave me two airraves, one for my house and one for my parents to keep me happy

            Sent from my Asus Infinity

    • TK

      *Shrugs* I wish a lot of people wouldn't do a lot of dumb things like buy cars with credit cards when they can't afford food. Everyone deserves freedom from intelligence. BTW, I am debating going back on contract due to coverage issues, so I might as well get a free phone out of it.

    • Greg Gerhardt

      I sure am getting spoiled on the cheap pre-paid plans here in Germany. It's going to be tough going back to the states and paying those rates again.

  • kcslimmers

    any idea how many units of the Nexus 4 has sold in this whole mess?

  • Darshan Karkar

    Hahaha I feel bad for the idiot that buys this. People better do research before buying this phone.

  • http://twitter.com/billyL1an Billy Lian Junxiang

    LOL so hard with this. PLEASE GUYS! JUST ORDER FROM google playstore and wait.

    I'm not so happy with LG and let's see how they do in Malaysia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Ugh. No thanks!

    Who am I kidding I already have one.

  • Souvik Kar

    Scalpers/grey marketeers would love to be able to get away with this kind of double-dipping. :-)

  • kenjab

    At this point, if you're desperate to get it ASAP, you might as well pay the $500 "retail" price to get it unsubsidized...if T-Mobile would even let you.

    • Freak4Dell

      They will, and doing this and pairing it with a Value plan will save you way more money, anyway. Not as much as getting it from the Play Store, obviously, but still more than buying it subsidized and using it on a Classic plan.

  • Karma

    Possible existing customers get a lower price? Even out of contract they charge more on a regular basis to long term customers (we are talking 10 year customers) more for phones than new customers, unless you call and threaten to cancel.

    • BangIShotYou

      Depends on the rep I think. Per my comment above (or below, wherever it ended up) if you're a current customer (old or relatively new) they'll give you a slightly lower price on the phone.

      I can get it for $230 (with taxes, and shipping and handling if I order it from the store and have it sent to me) on a new line on a relative's plan. That's the conversation we had with a rep though, I suppose things may vary for everyone. But I'm "locked in" at that price if I want it. Although at this point I'm seriously having my doubts about T-Mobile.

  • GazaIan

    Smartphone. Launch. Disaster.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Genjinaro Genjinaro

    I'm so tempted to leave my Carrier for one of these... Not for what T-Mobile is asking hardware wise LOL but I'm sick of waiting for software updates & information about said updates.
    But I think I'd be sick-er of hitting an 12GB celing on the 16GB model, if a 32GB model comes Q1 2013, I'd pay $400.
    I love Sprint but I need to give them time to get LTE up, my city (Phila, PA) is STILL at 5% & futher delayed. I'll come back 3 years & a new EVO later.

    • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

      Yeah you might need to give them more time. Ive been with Sprint for a decade and since 2006 they have been in a steady decline with respect to their data network. In Jan my contract is up and I am done.

      In Atlanta, when I get LTE (which is rare) its SLOWER than HSPA+ on others' AT&T phones.

      • http://twitter.com/Androidawg Woody Mahan

        I don't know what model phone you have, but I am on a G Nex with Sprint and I've been all over ATL and my data speeds are insanely fast (15 to 20 mbps). Not only that, but I am consistently on 4G LTE. Very rarely do I get switched back to 3G.

        • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

          GNex. Are you actually IN Atlanta?

          The only places I have ever touched those speeds even occasionally would be Douglasville, Cartersville and other places where Sprint might have 3 customers.

          In my home in Druid Hills, work in Vinings or hanging out in Decatur or Midtown/Downtown LTE is something I get fleeting glimpses of and its usually 4-6mb/s. And its not just me, I know plenty of others with the exact same experience Hell, I have yet to get LTE in a Sprint store (even on their display phones).

          Its not like its new, their backhaul has been overwhelmed for a long time.

          • thepope

            I was with sprint for 12 hours because their data network in Atlanta is a joke. Att hspa+ is faster than sprints LTE in Atl. The coverage map on sprints website shows LTe towers on each side of my house. I could only register an lte signal in the middle of the street (6mb down). My nexus 4 is clearing 14+ in the same spot ( and in my house). Best part is sprint just sent me a bill even after cancelling and returning their iPhone. I was told I had to contact apple to clear the bill. Wtf?

          • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

            Where in Atlanta? Once the N4 comes available I plan on hopping on to ST using an AT&T sim, hopefully the signal is good enough where i live/work.

          • thepope

            My place in town is in east at, but those speeds are common all over the city. I should say between 6-10mbps is average for downtown. I also have a place near lake lanier and the speeds are similar. The lte averages 25-30 with peaks of 55 around cumming. The Google BH ow feature works flawlessly on the N4 regardless of location. The voice to text Mk is instantaneous as are the search results. The page load speeds are negligible between LTE AND HSPA+ ( i had a sg3 then an iphone 5). The on time I noticed a difference in speed since getting a N4 was in a 24mb app download. Instead of 3 seconds it took 10. It really makes you question the value of Late for daily usage. I use my phone and tablet(s) extensively on att and verizons networks all day ( I have a Verizon lte hotspot for my N7, iPad is on att lte). For email, attachments, YouTube etc the hspa works as well. It is worth saying that att lte is the only provider that has the speed for the money. It is regularly 2-3x faster than Verizon which peaks between 10-14mbs. It is not carrier volume either, I've had the verizon hotspot for years.

    • fixxmyhead

      u love sprint? wtf is wrong with u. their data network is a joke

      • http://twitter.com/Androidawg Woody Mahan

        Felt the same way once. But see my post below.

      • http://www.twitter.com/Genjinaro Genjinaro

        Where I live it's fine. It depends on where you are.

  • BangIShotYou

    You know what's sad, I almost got one on contract. A relative of mine wanted to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S III and the only way they would be allowed (since they'd already used their upgrade) and at a reasonable price was if they got a new phone and a new line. Being that I'm considering switching from Sprint, I said I'd take them up on the new phone/new line (which they offered to pay for).

    However, T-Mobile's customer service in store and on the phone is just horrible. I called to see if they had the Nexus 4 in stock at my nearest store, i was told they did. I was there with my relative within 15 minutes and then told they'd been sold out for days. I left slightly annoyed. I proceeded to call ALL the local T-Mobiles to see if any had it in stock. Half said they were sold out and the other half actually had the gall to raise their voices at me and say that T-Mobile specifically DID NOT sell the Nexus 4 or even have it in its line-up and that I was wrong about what phones they did or did not sell. And that half got even more annoyed when I pointed out that not only did they sell the Nexus 4 and that they were wrong but that I was on their website and quite clearly seeing it was available from T-Mobile.

    I hung up eventually slightly miffed to say the least. Yeah, I really want to get away from Sprint and would love to have the Nexus 4 without having to wait. But with customer service like that... f*ck it. I'll stick with Sprint just a little bit longer and order a Nexus 4 online and just deal with the wait. Prepaid SIM card here I come.

    • Freak4Dell

      I haven't had a single problem with actual T-Mobile customer service (phone/email/forum). I will agree that some of their store reps really suck. I was pretty happy with the ones in the store that I opened my account in, but I visited a different store a while later, and they were terrible. I had to call in and handle my issue over the phone after I left, plus file a complaint against the store.

      I had the same experience with Sprint store reps too, though. Some were downright terrible, and some were great. I can't say the same for phone/email support from Sprint over the last few years. I've never dealt with a more rude set of people.

      • BangIShotYou

        Very true. Guess it just depends who you end up speaking to. In person, Sprint reps/customer service for me has been the absolute worst. On the phone though, I couldn't be happier with the help/service I've been provided. To the point that I called back just to speak to a supervisor to commend the people who helped me (it's only happened twice in my entire life and both times with Sprint customer support over the phone).

        And I will say this, the in-store rep at the T-Mobile I did visit was beyond helpful, and even apologized for whoever told me they had the Nexus 4 in stock. She even started making calls herself and promised she'd find the phone for me, and she did notify me that none were to be found within two days. But to add to her helpfulness she looked into ordering one online and having it sent to the store (something that I was first told they couldn't do), and in fact is probably going to be what I'm going to do this Friday. If my relative is picking up the tab why the heck not.

        For the record, the figure I was quoted is about the same as the one posted above for the update. If you're a current customer and want the Nexus 4 expect to pay between $230 - 260 (including taxes/shipping and handling).

  • http://www.geekchoice.com/washington-dc Dagmar Schneitz

    Well, I don't know what the latest toy trend is in 2012, but I am suspicious that this is T-Mobile's not-so-good way of getting their cut.

  • Klaine

    Why would anyone get locked into a contract and pay more than the phone sells for - I guess if youre desperate to get it right away - but this is why Tmobile continues to lose customers. They keep trying to position themselves as a value company at the same time they price their phones higher than anyone else

    • Freak4Dell

      It makes sense for most phones because even though the price is higher, you save plenty more on the plan. Plus, you can't get the phone anywhere else anyway. On the N4, though, it makes absolutely no sense. You can get the exact same phone elsewhere for less if you're willing to wait, and you'll still save on your plan. I have no idea what T-Mobile is thinking with this.

  • vitriolix

    Ahh... price gouging your customers is such a nice way to start a relationship

  • jimsis

    Not that I agree but understand the price change. Previous price was $199. Availability of the device is limited so you buy it on contract. you cancel the contract and pay the $200 early termination fee. You get the phone for $400, 'only' $50 more than the play store price - if there were any, and $100 cheaper than the $500 ebay bid price.

  • Bleakvision

    Wow, these scumbags even have the nerve to call this an "instant discount".

  • http://twitter.com/13xploited xploited

    What are you doing T-mobile? Stahp!