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T-Mobile's iphone off to a damp, but hopeful, start

 T-Mobile's iphone off to a damp, but hopeful, start

NEW YORK--There are bright summer mornings in midtown Manhattan when tech enthusiasts happily line the streets around the famous Apple "cube" on Fifth Avenue or sneak to nearby carrier stories to land a new iphone or ipad.
This was not one of those days. It was gray and soggy outside T-Mobile's flagship store in midtown Manhattan this morning, a wet reminder that winter isn't quite over despite what the calendar says. Similarly, T-Mobile hasn't yet succeeded in attempts to move past its own dark season.
But T-Mobile, for once, had a reason to celebrate. Today marked the first time the carrier offered Apple's top-of-the-line phone in its stores. Along heavily trafficked 34th Street in Manhattan, just a block away from Herald Square and the Empire State Building, a dozen people stood in the cold rain in front of the T-Mobile store with minutes to go before the doors opened.
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Chris Garron, building a case for mother of theBuy TERA Gold year, made her way from Queens to the store an hour before it opened to buy her 30-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son each an iphone 5.
"I wanted to make sure I would get the phone, " she said. The 50-year-old stay-at-home mother's denim jacket and pink hoodie sweater underneath may not have been the best outfit for standing in the rain,
Garron walked in amid the usual applause of an Apple launch. But instead of the blue-shirted Apple employees, a T-Mobile staff adorned in pink Apple-approved T-shirts greeted her. On the front of each shirt: "iPhone. It's here. "
To say T-Mobile is excited about carrying the iphone would be making an understatement. For T-Mobile, the iphone 5 isn't just another flagship phone; it's a gateway to the carrier's new way of thinking when it comes to its service plans and device costs. The iphone launch builds upon its "Uncarrier" initiative, which involves abolishing service contracts and subsidies.
Executives concede that the change -- which notably requires consumers to pay full price for their smartphones -- will take time for customers to accept. But they're hoping that the iphone and less expensive plans are enough to draw people into stores and start a conversation about why it's a good deal.


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