Ahead of the iPhone 5 launch this Wednesday, T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier and the only major U.S. carrier without the iPhone, today kicked off its new initiative meant to lure existing iPhone owners and unlockers to its stores, where they can get support on running their iPhones on T-Mobile’s iPhone-friendly HSPA+ network.

Additionally, the Deutsche Telekom-owned telco committed to developing iOS versions of its popular mobile apps like T-Mobile myAccount, T-Mobile Visual Voicemail and T-Mobile TV. If only they landed the next iPhone

T-Mobile USA, currently celebrating 10 years of innovation, is advertising the initiative with cost savings in the focus.

A post over at the official blog says that beginning Wednesday, September 12, the company is “stepping up our efforts” to attract customers with unlocked iPhones to T-Mobile.

Each of our branded retail stores will receive an iPhone 4s demo unit and our sales staff will start training to help customers set up their compatible iPhone.

We’re also developing iOS versions of helpful T-Mobile applications like T-Mobile myAccount, T-Mobile Visual Voicemail and T-Mobile TV (we already offer an iOS version of our popular Bobsled application).

Its iPhone-compatible HSPA+ network on the 1900MHz band is now live in cities like Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington DC and the New York metro area.

Bear in mind that Verizon and Sprint iPhones won’t work on T-Mobile’s network, only AT&T 3G iPhones do. Also, “other iPhones may have limited functionality”, fine print has it.

As you can see in T-Mobile’s advertising leaflet right below, they are inviting people to bring unlocked iPhones and sign up for an unlimited “4G” data plan for a $50 a month saving compared to AT&T, amounting to a cool $1,200 saving over the two-year period.

This is based on comparison of T-Mobile $69.99 a month Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan against AT&T’s Unlimited Talk, Text and 5GB Smartphone Data plan.

Ina Fried, reporting for the Wall Street Journal-owned AllThingsD blog:

By taking out the cost of subsidizing the iPhone, T-Mobile can offer significantly cheaper rate plans, said marketing director Harry Thomas, in an interview.

T-Mobile cited “internal tests” showing that unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over HSPA+ on its 1900 network recorded on average 70 percent faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network.

The company also commented on the iPhone situation:

Today, we don’t sell the iPhone, but we do have something worth selling to people who have one. Our message to iPhone customers is simple: bring your unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile and save.

T-Mobile already hosts a million iPhone users on its 3G network and now offers micro-SIM cards and some nice free support to unlockers.

Unfortunately, the company is not seen landing the iPhone this year. Without Apple’s phone, T-Mobile lost nearly a million customers last quarter, though it insists on having an iPhone 5 response in the works.

Is this latest offering from T-Mobile tempting or what?

  • i have seen 3G on my Iphone 4S in some parts of Brooklyn, and at the jersey shore. hopefully the coverage is spread quickly

  • tmobile can take their campaign and go to hell..

    • MagicDrumSticks

      Woah AT&T fanboy alert?

    • Timothy Do

      Guess you’re living in a world where only 2 companies exists, Apple and AT&T.

  • Daniel Spinner

    Compared to Sprint I would switch.

  • ic0dex

    Wait I’m lost, so we can get 4G on the iPhone 5 with T-Mobile but if you’re not in a 4G area it will drop down to E network or 3G?

    • No true 4G. T-mobile just happens to call its HSPA+ network 4G

    • mjoecups

      You won’t see any “4G” as far as I know. Depending on where you are, you might see some pretty fast 3G.

  • TMobile needs to explain that your not gonna get 3G on them unless you are in a very limited area.

    • mjoecups

      True, but here in Seattle, that area is growing rapidly. Also, data speed aren’t as big a deal as some of you all seem to believe. I know I have a friend who switched from AT&T to t-mobile at a time when t-mobile was edge only for iPhone, and he said that the speed was faster then AT&T’s “3g”.

      WIFI is faster anyhow :~)

  • sdgsdgsdfg

    I hope that Apple does not consider making Tmo a retailer for the iphone. If the iphone goes to Tmo, Tmo would have to create a iphone plan thus jacking up prices. I am happy that they are giving us support for iphone in Tmo but i hope that is all the do.

  • Winski

    Let’s make sure folks are FULLY up to speed with what T-Mumble is trying to package as the bean in this game of three-bean shuffle…

    If you read their offers carefully, you’ll notice in the fine print that the ‘Value plan’ unlimited for folks that come in ready to swap their SIM cards and go merrily on their way, that transaction REQUIRES YOU TO AGREE TO A NEW TWO-YEAR CONTRACT COMMITMENT !!!!!!! And if you manage to dodge that hidden barrel of snakes, then the Pre-paid plan is MORE EXPENSIVE AND IS CAPPED !!!!

    NOTHING TO SEE HERE. it’s all a lie.

    • mjoecups

      You can also buy the prepaid plans for 30$ a month or 50$ a month. 50$ a month gets you unlimited calling, text and data. Try that on AT&T

  • chjode

    I assume this would work with T-Mobile’s pre-paid $30/month “Unlimited Web & Text with 100 Minutes Talk” plan, too? I’m seriously considering buying an unlocked iPhone 5 and using either T-Mobile or StraightTalk to save big bucks over AT&T/Verizon/Sprint. There’s no LTE from any provider where I live, so it’s not a big deal. Heck, I think I can even deal with T-Mobile’s EDGE only data as I’m often smothered in WiFi at home and work.

    • mjoecups

      Yes. that works, I have used it with my unlock 3gs. I did end up stepping up to the $50 a month prepaid plan to get the unlimited calling too.

  • I live in Long Island. I dont see any 3G service. Still Stuck on EDGE. Are there any specific settings or plans to get the 3G service?

  • abujafer

    I hope they move off of Edge quickly… I’m not that intense about LTE vs. 3G+ or even 3G but Edge is just painful to use. Especially when you realize your phone can do so much more if they just open up that spectrum.

  • Marie Endraca

    I currently use an iPhone 4 on tmobile and had 3G in several locations in Las Vegas today!!