Who Is The Cheapest iPhone 5 Carrier? [Chart]

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t-mobile_iphone5

Hey, T-Mobile is finally an iPhone carrier now! Not only that, they’re a pretty competitive one, offering you an iPhone 5 for just $100 down and $20 a month over 24 months in what the nation’s fourth-largest carrier is calling a “no bullshit” plan. If you buy an iPhone 5 at T-Mobile, you can leave at any time as long as you pay off your device; otherwise, your service is provided month by month.

Sounds pretty great, but how competitive is T-Mobile’s new iPhone plan compared to the competition really? We compared the cheapest T-Mobile iPhone 5 plan you can get against the 24 month cost of getting one from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, Virgin Mobile and Straight Talk. The result? T-Mobile is one of the cheaper plans around… but it’s not the cheapest.

Here’s the breakdown. We only included plans offering at least 2GB of data per month. Keep in mind that these are the cheapest roughly equivalent individual plans you can get from all carriers, but does not cover shared data or family plans. In addition, Virgin Mobile doesn’t offer the iPhone 5 right now, so we’re including iPhone 4S data for them.

That all said, check out how T-Mobile does. Getting an iPhone 5 from T-Mobile will save you about $370 compared to getting one from AT&T or Verizon over the course of two years.

Please scroll table to see all the data

AT&T Verizon Sprint Cricket Virgin Straight Talk T-Mobile
Minutes $39.99 (450) $39.99 (450) $69.99 (Unlimited) $55.00 (Unlimited) $40 (1200) $45 (Unlimited) $50 (unlimited)
Texting $20 $20 $0 $0 $0 $0 (Unlimited) $0 (Unlimited)
Data $30 (3GB) $30 (2GB) $10 (Unlimited) $0 (Unlimited) $0 (Unlimited) $0 (Unlimited) $10 (2.5GB)
Activation $36 $35 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
iPhone $199.99 $199.99 $199.99 $649.99 $449.99 (iPhone 4S) $649.99 $100 + $480
2-Year Total $2395.79 $2394.79 $2119.75 $1969.99 $1409.99 $1729.99 $2020.00

There is one carrier that is cheaper than T-Mobile: Walmart’s in-house carrier, Straight Talk. We’re unabashed fans of Straight Talk here at Cult of Mac, but there’s a big caveat here: LTE doesn’t work on Straight Talk. T-Mobile, on the other hand, does have a nascent web of LTE coverage.

So what’s the verdict? Basically, the iPhone 5 gets cheaper and cheaper to have for 24 months the smaller the carrier gets. T-Mobile’s new plan will save you around $370 over AT&T and Verizon, and about $100 over Sprint, but Cricket, Straight Talk and Virgin are still cheaper options if you don’t mind buying your iPhone 5 for full price at the start of your contract.