Rumors were running rampant, and as it turns out, they were largely true. T-Mobile has made a huge move at CES 2014 this week, at a show where most of the other carriers have nearly bowed out completely. The company's new CEO has been on an #Uncarrier rampage
of late, eliminating roaming fees for texting and data overseas; giving tablet users 200MB of free T-Mobile data each month; and now, paying off those much-hated ETFs. For years, mobile carriers in the U.S. have had customers by their wallets. Each discounted phone came with activation fees and a two-year agreement, which was mighty costly to escape.
Those chains haven't improved much over the years, and T-Mobile is ready to seriously shake up the status quo. It's the first anniversary of the Uncarrier Agenda, and now, T-Mobile will reimburse the entire amount of a customer's early termination fee if they move to T-Mobile from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless. "We're giving families a 'Get Out of Jail Free Card,' said John Legere, president and chief executive officer of T-Mobile. "Carriers have counted on staggered contract end dates and hefty early termination fees to keep people bound to them forever. But now families can switch to T-Mobile without paying a single red cent to leave them behind."
Here's how T-Mobile's offer to pay off these fees works:
Starting tomorrow, customers from the three major national carriers who hand in their eligible devices at any participating T-Mobile location and switch to a postpaid Simple Choice Plan can receive an instant credit, based on the value of their phone, of up to $300. They then purchase any eligible device, including T-Mobile's most popular smartphones, now priced at $0 down (plus 24 monthly device payments, for well-qualified customers). After customers get the final bill from their old carrier (showing their early termination fees), they either mail it to T-Mobile or upload it to www.switch2tmobile.com. T-Mobile then sends an additional payment equal to those fees, up to $350 per line. Trade-in of their old phone, purchase of a new T-Mobile phone and porting of their phone number to T-Mobile are required to qualify.
This offer to pay early termination fees provides families with a quick way to escape carrier contracts that have deterred them from pursuing a better and more affordable wireless experience with T-Mobile.
T-Mobile is also making it easier for its longtime customers to migrate to Simple Choice plans as well without incurring any migration fees. To qualify for this option a current customer under contract trades in their current device and purchases a new T-Mobile device and switches to Simple Choice. In addition to waiving the migration fee, T-Mobile will also eliminate the existing annual service contract for that customer's line.
T-Mobile's coverage map leaves a lot to be desired, but it's improving. And, if these kind of antics keep up, they may prove to be worth the switch if you typically stay in metro areas.