Didn’t get a chance to purchase a Google Nexus 4 from the Google Play Store today? On November 14th you’ll be able to walk into some T-Mobile stores and pick one up in person… for the right price.

While Google is selling a 16GB, carrier unlocked Nexus 4 for $349, The Verge reports T-Mobile will charge $499 for the same device. Or you can get it for $199… if you sign up for a 2-year service plan.

Google Nexus 4

In other words, if you want to use the Google Nexus 4 with AT&T’s network in the US, you have two choices: Wait a few weeks for Google to get more in stock or pay a $150 premium to buy one from a T-Mobile store.

Keep in mind, $499 is actually a pretty great price for an unlocked smartphone with a 1280 x 768 pixel display, a quad-core processor, 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. The Nexus 4 is also the first phone to ship with Google Android 4.2. You’d end up paying more than that for a brand new, unlocked Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X.

While the Nexus 4 doesn’t support 4G LTE, neither does T-Mobile. But the wireless carrier does offer HSPA+ speeds as high as 42 Mbps, and that’s exactly what this phone can handle.

Basically, T-Mobile’s $499 price tag represents an early adopter’s premium. The $199 price for a subsidized phone is probably a much better deal if you were planning on becoming a T-Mobile customer anyway, or renewing your contract. Sure, there are plenty of phones available at that price, but the Nexus includes a pure version of Android without any customizations from the carrier or device maker, and it’ll be first in line for future software updates from Google.

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6 replies on “Google Nexus 4 to hit T-Mobile stores on Nov 14th for $199 on-contract, $499 off”

  1. “Basically, T-Mobile’s $499 price tag represents an early adopter’s premium.”
    No, it’s the price for T-Mobile greed/margin.
    And after that people still believe that phones are subsidized by operators…
    No, they usually simply get them at a lower price than retail.
    Time to open our eyes and look at the (‘subsidized’ or not) phone market for what it is: A scam.

    1. Agreed. Lisa Gade of Mobile Tech Review did a very good review of the new Nokia Windows 8 phone, but gushed about it being “only $99” with a contract.

      I crunched a few numbers and came up with a minimum of $2175 over 2 years for that phone with the cheapest plan (and only 1GB of data/month). I did the same thing with a slightly lower spec’ed Nokia Windows 8 phone in the UK (same basic plan) and found it only cost $1250 over 2 years. Still not cheap, but nearly $1000 less than in the US.

      Bottom line, American mobile phone users are being ripped off, but most people are so blinded by the expensive baubles the get with their plans that they don’t notice it.

      1. 2175 for the phone? Then how much is the service? No one spends, 2175 to buy a phone, you may spend it for the phone AND SERVICE, but not for the phone.

  2. “The $199 price for a subsidized phone is probably a much better deal if you were planning on becoming a T-Mobile customer anyway, or renewing your contract.”

    Not really, no. T-Mobile offers Value plans, which are contract plans that are Bring Your Own Device. Why would you want that? Because they’re $20 cheaper across the board. Over a two-year contract you’re saving $480 + the difference in taxes and fees, which are often calculated as a percentage of your pre-fee bill, so more like $500. Paying the full price upfront nets you a savings of $200.

    1. Unless you’ve got an old plan and want to re-up. I keep running the numbers and I’d pay more than I do now by going off contract. I’ve had my plan since G1 days!

      1. If you’re grandfathered in on a plan that’s at least $25 cheaper overall than a current-Classic plan, then yes, you’re certainly better off with that plan than a Value plan.

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