Remember back when wireless carriers made you sign a contract for service as opposed to the current setup where you only sign a contract for your smartphone? It was a trade-off — in exchange for locking in a multi-year service contract, the carrier would give you a cell phone either for free or at a deep discount. Those days are long gone thanks to a major policy shift that was started by T-Mobile. Now, you pay for your smartphone separately, either upfront or with installments spread out over a period of time.
There are still arguments on both sides of the fence and there are clear benefits with either option. Of course, there’s no reason to argue about it these days because no major carrier offers service contracts with their standard service plans anymore. One smaller carrier is going back to the basics, however, and is offering subscribers the best of both worlds.
Customers can choose from low-cost unlimited plans starting at $15 per month, and they’ll receive a discount of up to $170 on a new iPhone 12 or up to $200 on a new iPhone 12 Pro. On top of that, contract terms start at just one month and you can also get free AppleCare for as long as you keep your account open.
Buy an iPhone 12 from Apple or a major wireless carrier and you’re paying at least $799. Get that same exact iPhone 12 from Red Pocket Mobile instead, however, and the most you’ll pay is $749 even without a service contract. Or, if you’re willing to sign up for 24 months of service instead of going month-to-month, you’ll only pay $629 for that iPhone 12.
Instead of saving between $50 and $170, upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro and you’ll save between $80 and $200. And regardless of which model or contract length you choose, you’ll get AppleCare coverage for free with plans costing $40 or more for as long as you keep your account open and in good standing.
Red Pocket Mobile is a small MVNO that is going to great lengths to make a name for itself. It provides service through all four of the largest wireless carriers in the US, and it offers iPhone service plans priced between $15 per month and $60 per month. Pricing varies based on the amount of 4G LTE data you want. The $15 plan includes 1,000 minutes of voice calling along with unlimited texts and 1GB of data, while unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data costs $60 per month. There’s also a 3GB option for $20, an 8GB option for $30, and a 20GB option for $40 per month, each of which includes unlimited talk and text.
It goes without saying that all these plans are significantly less expensive than comparable offerings from major wireless carriers in the US.
There are a few caveats with the deals, as you might expect. That’s said, they’re generally not as bad as you might think.
First, it appears as though these deals are only available with service through AT&T — adding any iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro model to your cart automatically adds a GSMA SIM card along with it. Red Pocket doesn’t list its network partners by name on its website, but instead by network technology. If you’re unfamiliar with network technologies though, not-so-subtle color-coding makes it fairly clear which carrier is which:
Requiring AT&T service could be a problem for some people depending on coverage in your area.
The next caveat isn’t a very big deal right now, but it could be a big deal a year or two down the road. While Apple’s iPhone 12 series is the first iPhone lineup to support 5G wireless service, Red Pocket’s plans do not include 5G service at this time. That could change at some point, but we doubt it’ll change anytime soon.
The third big caveat is that your iPhone 12 will be locked to Red Pocket for at least 12 months regardless of which service term you choose. That means even if you opt for the month-to-month plan with no service contract, you won’t have the option to pay off your iPhone and have it unlocked until you’ve had Red Pocket service for at least a full year.
Last but certainly not least, there is currently no indication on the Red Pocket site as far as when iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro preorders will be delivered. The site only says “this device is on preorder with the manufacturer. We will ship it to you as soon as we receive it.” That means you definitely won’t get your new iPhone next Friday on launch day, though lead time with Apple doesn’t appear to be too long right now.
Anyone interested in learning more about the offers can check out Red Pocket Mobile’s iPhone 12 order page or the iPhone 12 Pro order page.