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U.S. mobile provider to sell HTC One for US$99.99

2013/03/27 14:03

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest mobile provider in the United States, will offer HTC Corp.'s newest flagship phone for as little as US$99.99 in the carrier's latest step to stem customer losses, T-Mobile said in a press release Monday.

T-Mobile, a unit of Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG, is trying to shift customers from its traditional two-year contract model to new rate plans without phone subsidies.

T-Mobile customers currently have to pay a US$99.99 upfront fee for certain 4G LTE-capable devices and US$20 in monthly installments over the following two years, adding up to US$580, according to the press release.

These mobile devices compatible with T-Mobile's super-fast LTE network include the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the BlackBerry Z10 and the Apple iPhone 5. The company did not specify when the HTC One will be available.

Taiwan-based HTC announced March 24 that it will begin sales of its new HTC One in the United Kingdom, Germany and Taiwan this week and in the rest of Europe, North America and most of the Asia-Pacific region before the end of April.

HTC said prices for the contract-free HTC One with a 16-gigabyte storage capacity will start at NT$19,900 (US$667) in Taiwan.

T-Mobile's move is expected to reduce costs for its customers, since the carrier's rivals, such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint Nextel, usually charge US$200 upfront for an LTE handset such as the iPhone 5, with a two-year contract.

T-Mobile lost 515,000 contract subscribers in the fourth quarter of last year due to a slow start of its 4G LTE strategy, while the company's prepaid customers continued to grow for the sixth consecutive quarter.

Separately, senior executives from Taiwan's telecom operators said that shipments of the HTC One arrived in their warehouses Tuesday, and that local consumers would be able to get their hands on the new phone March 29 after packaging and delivering procedures.

The majority of the newly arrived shipments are silver models with a 32GB storage capacity, said the executives, who estimated that the operators may not be able to fill all the first-wave pre-orders until the middle of April.

(By Esme Jiang and Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/J