Leaked ad points to T-Mobile paying customers' termination fees to switch service

Leaked ad points to T-Mobile paying customers' termination fees to switch service

Summary: AT&T may have hit that button first, but T-Mobile already has enough incentives to draw in some significant new customer numbers from the top three U.S. carriers.

TOPICS: Networking
Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 8.47.07 AM
(Image: Droid Life/T-Mobile)

It's the sort of news that would make you squirm and think, "yeah, that is going to hurt in the morning." But not for T-Mobile. At least not at first.

A leaked ad spotted by mobile site Droid Life points to further indications that T-Mobile will "pay your family's termination fees" from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint when they trade in their devices.

These early termination fees can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to quit a cell contract before it's up. With T-Mobile swooping in and reportedly ready to cover these costs could be the final catalyst in many subscribers' troubles with the big three U.S. cellular giants into moving to the smaller network, which seems hellbent on shaking up the wireless industry for the benefit of the end-customer.

Under the terms of the deal, according to the mobile publication, up to five lines can be traded in with the early termination fees covered. This includes all devices — including hotspots and mobile phones — tied to a particular contract.

That leaves the customer without any devices to speak of. Deviceless new customers will be allowed to buy devices from T-Mobile's own range, but will not be able to bring-their-own-device akin to other schemes.

It may not be financially viable, with some fees failing to offset the cost of acquiring new devices. But the benefits T-Mobile has already dished out to existing and new customers may make the deal sweeter — such as the new plan structure for new customers, dubbed "Uncarrier," which all but killed off contracts and phone subsidies, and its unlimited international data roaming plans under the "Simple Choice" moniker.

This would be painful for AT&T and others to swallow — despite AT&T's attempt to get there first on a similar line of thinking.

The largest U.S. carrier by subscribers earlier in January said it would offer up to $450 per line to T-Mobile customers switching to AT&T. But in ZDNet's Matt Miller's case, the math didn't add up — paying just $130 for five phones on T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is holding a press conference at CES 2014 later on Wednesday. We'll have more when it lands.

Topic: Networking

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  • Going to have to call them

    I'm on t-mobile now, 5 lines, $130/month with a contract. I wonder if they have anything that can reduce my bill or expand my services without raising the monthly bill? Now I have 2 unlimited mobile, 2 500 minute mobile, and an unlimited @home line.
    • Nope...

      You are in the same boat as us, one of the few plans that is still grandfathered in with T-Mobile and there isn't a better plan right now, so we are sticking with this setup, although we don't have the @home line, as we don't see any need for a home phone.
    • employee discount

      try using an employee discount, that will save you more money
  • Businesses?

    If T-Mobile were to offer this for businesses, I would work on getting my boss to switch. Their coverage is far better than AT&T's, at least in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah as my wife and I found out over the holidays when she often had 4G LTE coverage on T-Mobile and I had nothing and I mean NOTHING, not even voice.
  • Coverage

    Had T-Mobile - switched to at&t and now I have my coverage. On the Central Coast of California, at&t has you covered. The price is right + coverage. Be sure to ask around -- as many people as possible, if they are pleased with their service coverage for data. With at&t I now have data coverage most everywhere I go -- with T-Mobile is was spotty and even in city I had few bars in many places, including at home which is near downtown.
    • But if you do have coverage...

      Well if you do have coverage (and in the Boston area I do) then T-Mobile is a great deal. AT&T won't even offer unlimited data any more, much less throw in 2.5gb mobile hotspot and unlimited (albeit slow) international data roaming all for 70/month, so I'm happy I switched.