As of April this year T-Mobile offered the best deal on the iPhone for just $99 up front and no tyrannical two-year contract, and yet the company hasn't sold enough to save itself from third place. In fact, the company's share of the wireless market has dropped since it announced its deal, reports Bits Blog's Brian X. Chen. And while the company has sold a bunch of iPhones, most buyers are upgrading to smartphones for the first time, meaning it hasn't really lured fancy phone owners from the competition. When T-Mobile made its "bold" move, the tech pundits argued it was the best deal around: T-Mobile still offers unlimited data, users aren't locked into two-year contracts that subsidize the price of the phone, and certain prices can come out cheaper than competitors. (Though that last part is up for debate.) So, then, why hasn't T-Mobile lapped up the market?
Unlocked Is Pretty Useless Right Now. The whole idea of an unlocked contract means you can take that cell phone and bring it over to another carrier before two years is over. That idea only really benefits the consumer if every company played along, though. If you don't like T-Mobile service you could bring it over to AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, but then you'd have to lock back into another two-year contract. Also, the T-Mobile iPhone isn't compatible with the Verizon and Sprint networks, meaning your contract freedom is pretty limited.