t-mobile ceo john legere

Targeting iPhone owners dissatisfied with their current carriers, T-Mobile announced a new trade-in program today that gives existing iPhone owners a simple way to upgrade to the iPhone 5.

As part of the trade-in program, current iPhone 4 or 4S owners can bring their phones into T-Mobile stores and receive an iPhone 5 for $0 down when it lands at the carrier this Friday. Depending on the value of the phone, you can also get up to $120 in credit, which can be used to pay off the rest of the iPhone 5’s price, pay your T-Mobile bill, or buy accessories.

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Normally, you’d have to pay $100 up-front to get T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 (still $100 cheaper than other carriers), together with $20 a month for 24 months to pay off the rest of the phone’s value. If you qualify for the full extent of the trade-in deal, your monthly payments would be reduced to $15.

For many customers, this is a pretty sweet deal from T-Mobile. The carrier made a big deal about killing the traditional cellphone contract at an event last month, and it’s newest plans reflect that philosophy. They start at just $50 for unlimited talk and text and 500MB of high-speed data, and you can add more high-speed data for an additional $10 (2GB worth) or $20 (unlimited) a month.

So if you don’t need a huge amount of high-speed data, and you have an iPhone 4S in good condition for trade-in, you could pay T-Mobile only $65 a month.

While you can probably get a better price for your iPhone 4 or 4S online, T-Mobile’s trade-in program makes it dead simple to dump your existing carrier and upgrade to the iPhone 5. That’s exactly what T-Mobile needs — but we’ll see if consumers bite. T-Mobile has offered low-cost plans and plenty of phone deals in the past, but this is the first time it’s been able to offer an iPhone deal.

The trade-in program will last until Father’s Day on June 16, so you have some time to think about the move.

Photo: T-Mobile CEO John Legere, by Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

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