CES 2014: T-Mobile offers families a Get Out of Jail Free card, launches fastest LTE in US

CES 2014: T-Mobile offers families a Get Out of Jail Free card, launches fastest LTE in US

Summary: T-Mobile has been making waves in the US wireless carrier space with their Uncarrier announcements and the 4th edition brings ETF payments, new devices, and fastest LTE in the US.

CES 2014: T-Mobile offers families a Get Out of Jail Free card, launches fastest LTE in US
(Image: T-Mobile)

I have now been with T-Mobile for more than 10 years and while I was laughed at for sticking with them over the years, my loyalty is paying off with low monthly fees and soon the fastest LTE network in the US.

ZDNet's Zack Whittaker earlier wrote about the leaked ad indicating T-Mobile will pay off ETF (early termination fees) to get you to switch. At CES, T-Mobile's John Legare just announced all the details. T-Mobile's CTO also talked with my buddy Sascha Segan and revealed how they achieved launching the nation's fastest LTE network.

LG and Sony already announced that the LG G Flex and Sony Xperia Z1s will be launching soon on T-Mobile. Samsung will also be bringing their Galaxy Tabe 3 (7.0), that's quite a name, to T-Mobile soon as well.

ETF offer

AT&T tried to trump this T-Mobile announcement, but their $250 credit, and swindling Next service obligation for the other $200, is a weak offer compared to what T-Mobile announced. Not to mention that you will pay more for AT&T's service than you will with T-Mobile.

In the past I considered switching to Verizon since they have great coverage where I live, work, and play. However, that also meant I would have to pay nearly $1,000 in ETF fees for my family of five and that was with low ETFs. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have smartphone ETFs of up to $350 so the ETF is a huge deterrent for switching carriers.

Customers who want to make the switch turn their device into T-Mobile and get a credit of up to $300 for that phone. You then need to buy a T-Mobile smartphone. Remember, they do have $0 down options and zero percent interest offers. When you get your final bill, with the ETF, from your existing carrier then you mail or upload that bill and T-Mobile will give you back up to $350 per line.

So, the offer is very good, but you do have to meet the three requirements to get your ETF paid off. Again, they are: trade-in of your old phone, purchase of a new T-Mobile phone, and porting of your phone number to T-Mobile.

Make sure you have good T-Mobile coverage in your area before you make the switch. T-Mobile is wonderful for me and my family, but we have amazing LTE coverage. T-Mobile isn't for everyone, but they sure save me a ton of money and offer wonderful customer service.

Fastest LTE

Sascha's PCMag interview with T-Mobile CTO, Neville Ray, has all the details on how T-Mobile went from having no LTE to the fastest LTE network in just a couple years. Increasing their spectrum allows them to cover more people with faster speeds. According to PCMag's article, "In December 2013, T-Mobile LTE customers averaged 17.8Mbps down. Verizon customers scored 14.7Mbps, AT&T 14.3Mbps, and Sprint 7.9Mbps."

Related stories

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Tmo

    has good plans and Legere is certainly entertaining. However, for me their coverage is just not good enough. I tried them for 2 months last year and there were too many dead spots where I live and travel. Mostly rural areas. When I go home to NYC the service was great. I would gladly switch back but I need to see beter coverage. I use an AIO(AT&T) prepaid plan so ETFs are irrelevant to me. I hope Tmo is prepared for the onslaught of requests for reimbursements that will surely follow.
  • Lots of money for 2G

    It's easy to be fastest when you don't cover much area. No 4G or LTE available in my state at all!
  • Seems attractive but not so great

    Except iphone5s all phone can go to next versions in couple of months. Prices are not cheaper than ATT as i thought earlier.

    I have to lines and using ATT and for almost same mins and data i have to pay extra 40$ per month, so just waste of money for that coverage.
    • that was two not to

      that was two not "to"
  • VZW Unleashing the beast

    Their advance LTE is going to blow those speeds away and leave the other 3 in the dust - again. I'm a believer that the subsidies will go away eventually and take Apple's 50% profit margin with them. Getting rid of subsidies (especially on iPhones) will ultimately save the carriers a bundle.
    • All the carriers will be deploying LTE Advanced

      So the technology won't be a differentiator, but spectrum holdings will and this is where VZW will have an advantage.
  • The problem here...

    Nobody is going to trust TMobile enough to try out 5 lines with them! They've done so much shady garbage in the past that you don't know if you can trust that you'll have a signal where you want it! Also, if you try to return the phone even after 24 hours, they will whack you hard with fees!

    No joke, last time I tried them I went less than one day and realized it didn't work either at home or at my office... I went back, told them their service sucked and canceled the whole thing! Next thing I know, I'm getting a bill for more than $100 for my 1 day of usage! I literally had to fight with them for an hour and finally told them I wasn't paying it and eventually they waived all but $24 but, I told them I wasn't paying that either because their coverage map said they had great coverage in both areas... about 2 months later, one of their reps finally heard me when I said I wasn't paying it and that I had only used the phone for less than 24 hours, she waived the rest of the fee!
  • Thanks for sharing

    Thanks for sharing this informative post with us.