At long last, T-Mobile USA will be getting the iPhone.

The Bellevue-based company will start offering the iPhone 5 nationwide on April 12 as a flagship device in its shift away from wireless contracts. The Apple device will be available for $99 down and $20/month for two years (or a total of $580) running on T-Mobile s existing HSPA+ and new 4G LTE network, which is launching today starting in seven metro areas.

I can finally announce that the phone that redefined the industry is coming to T-Mobile, said John Legere, T-Mobile USA CEO, at a news conference in New York City introducing the company s new rate plans. It was such a huge void in our device portfolio.

It s part of a broader comeback attempt by T-Mobile as a challenger to Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Legere spent the initial part of the event lambasting the press and the wireless industry in humorous and at times profane language, criticizing reports that T-Mobile s new plan will cost consumers more than rival plans do.

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