If you’re thinking about pre-ordering the hottest new iPhone from T-Mobile, think twice. Take my word for it: I pre-ordered the iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black early on the day pre-orders became available and I was told it would be more than two months before the phone would actually arrive.
As a person who pays extra to participate in T-Mobile’s Jump! On-Demand program which lets you trade up for a new phone something like three times in twelve months, placing a pre-order was the obvious way to get Apple’s latest and best mobile phone as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, thought the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced on September 7, 2016 the quickest T-Mobile could get me the phone I pre-ordered would be the nebulous date range of November 1 to November 30.
Of course I contacted T-Mobile support and begged and pleaded my case as a poor tech reviewer who would be last in getting their iPhone 7 review published, but to no avail. According to a T-Mobile support representative it was completely out of their hands; in their version of the story Apple dictated when the iPhone arrived at carriers to ship to customers. According to this T-Mobile rep all carriers got their iPhones at the exact same time.
When I asked an Apple support rep if this was true I was told it wasn’t. In fact, according to this Apple rep, all carriers receive shipments separately. I suspected as much already. She noted that at the time of our conversation several people had already started to receive their new iPhones.
Verizon is larger than T-Mobile, for instance. I doubt Apple treats the equally. And even if they did, it is conceivable that Verizon has greater purchasing power and was able to either out plan or out leverage T-Mobile when it came to securing enough iPhones for their customers.
Part of the issue is that the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus is the white whale of phones this year. It’s hard to get and will continue to be for quite some time. There is a lot of demand for this specialty color and I wouldn’t put it past a company like Apple to artificially create scarcity around their flagship product (but that is pure speculation on my part).
I’ve seen plenty of people post content online showing off their brand new Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus units. It appears that most of them simply went into the store and purchased the phone the day it came out. Many of those people probably battled lines and had to wake up early to make it happen.
The question at the bottom of all of this is whether or not using T-Mobile’s Jump! On Demand program to pre-order the latest, greatest iPhone is worth it. If you want to get your new iPhone as fast as possible, Jump! On Demand will definitely let you down in my experience (and this isn’t my first attempt at this kind of upgrade, though it certainly was the worst experience so far).
T-Mobile is a budget carrier. The coverage isn’t as awesome as they’d like you to believe — even though they’ve paid the ex-Verizon actor to say the opposite — and the customer service tends to be quite poor.
I continue to be disappointed with T-Mobile on almost every front and especially with how long it takes to get a hot new phone using Jump! On Demand. I hope things improve.