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Apple's iPhone 6s at Center of Latest Sprint and T-Mobile Price War

The companies are neck-and-neck in an epic battle of pricing one-downmanship.


The iPhone 6s is at the center of the latest Sprint and T-Mobile bum fight, with each racing to the bottom to undercut the other and snatch customers.

T-Mobile announced it would offer the iPhone 6s at prices starting at $5 a month, through its Jump On Demand device lease program, when the subscriber trades in an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The price goes up when the customer exchanges an older device, with payments of $10 a month with the trade-in of an iPhone 5s or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Chief executive John Legere kicked off a 10-part tweet storm on Twitter Wednesday extolling the virtues of the promotion.

This morning, Sprint responded with a deal of its own: An iPhone 6s for as little as $1 a month, under its iPhone Forever lease program, with the trade-in of an iPhone 6. The price is slightly more — $10 a month — with the exchange of an older iPhone 5s.

Sprint heralded its new offer under the headline: Not So Fast T-Mobile!

“Once again it is clear that the best place to get the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is Sprint,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement.

Both carriers are locked in a battle for subscribers, with Sprint sliding into fourth place among the major U.S. carriers. Sprint’s losses have been T-Mobile’s gains. Sprint, in particular, is burning through cash to regain lost ground.

“It didn’t take long for an industry trumpeting the lack of subsidies in phone payment plans to dive back in with even larger subsidies than before,” said BTIG telecom analyst Walter Piecyk, referring to the time when wireless carriers subsidized the cost of a phone by signing subscribers to two-year contracts.

At the same time, iPhone customers are some of the most lucrative customers around, and both sides are looking to lock in iPhone fans who are willing to switch carriers for the best deals.

Piecyk said there is no “near-term penalty” to Sprint or T-Mobile to offer such aggressive deals, but added “that is real cash that Sprint is forgoing, and they are already burning billions each year.”

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