T-Mobile Score Lets Customers Nab Phone Deals

For prepaid wireless customers, getting a good smartphone usually means sticker shock. But the latest T-Mobile deal could change that. The carrier has unveiled its Score program to let all customers, even those with prepaid plans, qualify for discounted handsets.

Before Score (opens in new tab), those who didn't sign up for a two-year plan or installment-payment program had to pay the full price for the handset up front. Devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4 cost $610 and $750, respectively.

MORE: T-Mobile Phone Plan Buying Guide

If you enroll in Score for $5 per month, you'll qualify for deal prices on entry-level phones such as the Alcatel Onetouch Evolve after 6 months. That means you can get that Alcatel handset for free instead of paying the $80 price for it.

After 12 months on Score, you'll qualify for discounted pricing on higher-end phones, such as the Galaxy S5 and Note 4, so you'll only have to fork out $510 and $599 for them, respectively. Factoring in the $60 Score subscription fee after 12 months, that means you'll save $40 on the S5 and $90 on the Note 4. 

The official list of devices available on Score and how much they will actually cost has not been confirmed, and only a sample has been released. Depending on the final prices, this could mean prepaid customers don't have to limit themselves to a boring range of handsets anymore.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low wants a new smartphone for cheap. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide on Facebook.

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.

  • thehritzinator
    Wait 12 months and save $40 on what will then be last years phone. Yeah, how about no.
  • fyend
    I'll just keep using swappa and Straight Talk thanks.
  • thehritzinator
    15153002 said:
    So it will cost me 60 bucks to save 40... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA...heh. Okay, I feel beter now.

    No, it costs $60 to save $100. You're total savings are $40. It's still an awful deal that anyone with a brain will see through
  • Chris Droste
    i think you guys are blowing this out of proportion. they are showing sample savings on current, still, fast phones. the concept is you sign up for it, and while you wont save right away, next year you might see $100-150 off whatever the current phone will be then... Galaxy S6? Note5? Lg G4? at that point, yes you put in $60, but the effect will be say $700phone -$120 SCORE savings = $580 new phone +60 for the plan price. it makes T-Mo money because they get interest off your $5/mo and you get your money + another $5/mo saved. Granted the savings probably won't scale but most carriers are happy to combine discounts when it's time for you to upgrade. is this plan awesome? pft. no but anything to help shoulder the hefty price of buying a new smartphone in plain english is OK by me.
  • jrodil
    It's just another way of milking more $ from prepaid customers...
  • eklipz330
    seems like there should be a catch. i'm guessing they are banking on people not updating their phones too frequently
  • CherlynnLow
    Yea let's be careful about the math here. The $40 savings is net of what you pay over 12 months for the Score program. If you don't think about what you pay to subscribe, then your savings could be around $100 (in the above case)...

    But as rightly pointed out by Chris Droste, these are just sample numbers. We won't know for sure how significant the savings will be yet since they will be the same deals offered to those on post-paid plans. Just good to bear in mind, for prepaid customers on Score, that you'll have to consider the $30-$60 subscription fee.

    Overall I still think this is a good move to let prepaid customers have the same access to prices they normally wouldn't get!