T-Mobile USA is going where no major wireless carrier has gone before. The fourth-largest carrier is nixing smartphone subsidies as it gets closer to putting its hands on the iPhone.

T-Mobile made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show i-Mbile n Las Vegas on Tuesday night. The company also put out rapid-fire press releases about LTE network enhancements, a 4G Connect laptop and tablet service, and the unlimited no-annual-contract plan.

We caught up with Avi Greengart of Current Analysis from his Las Vegas hotel room to discuss T-Mobile's announcements. He told us the new T-Mobile contract model aims to convince consumers they should be buying their phones up front -- or financing them -- and buying the service alongside instead.

Can T-Mobile Pull it Off?

"This subsidy-free model is something U.S. carriers have not been willing to do, but T-Mobile has nothing to lose so they are going to try it," Greengart said. "T-Mobile is going to see if they can convince consumers that, if they do the math, they will see clearly that T-Mobile offers an equivalent product at a lower total cost of ownership."

Of course, in terms of equivalent product, Greengart said, T-Mobile needs to get its LTE network up and running for parity with the other major carriers in a hurry. Greengart noted that T-Mobile execs made bold claims about their ability to push out LTE quickly during Tuesday night's press conference.

"Right now, Verizon has their LTE network largely rolled out. AT&T is in the middle of a rollout. Sprint has started a rollout. T-Mobile hasn't started yet but they claim they are going to do it very quickly," Greengart said. "AT&T is ahead of schedule in terms of where they had promised to be at this point so I wouldn't put it past T-Mobile to pull it off."

Bold Marketing Moves

T-Mobile is making its Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data Plan available with no annual contract immediately. That makes T-Mobile the only U.S. carrier to offer an unlimited, nationwide, 4G data Relevant Products/Services plan with no data caps or overages.

"As the 'Uncarrier,' we're doing the unthinkable," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA. "We're directly confronting the frustrations of American consumers fed up with the cost, complexity and congested networks of our competitors."

Meanwhile, T-Mobile's 4G Connect aims to make 4G connectivity a standard, integrated and free feature on select notebooks, tablets and Ultrabooks. Through 4G Connect, consumers who purchase these devices can access the Internet through a high-speed connection via T-Mobile's 4G network, without extra equipment, annual contracts or commitments.

Legere said the company's goal is to make sure customers have a "walk-out working" experience and not be constrained to Wi-Fi to have a data connection.