T-Mobile Offers $650 to Jump Ship from Other Carriers

The wireless wars are intensifying, and T-Mobile upped the ante with an new offer designed to lure AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers.

Last week, AT&T offered T-Mobile customers up to $450 in credits to jump ship. Today, T-Mobile upped the ante, saying it will pay customers of its three major rivals – AT&T, Sprint and Verizon – as much as $650 per line to switch carriers.

The offer includes a credit of up to $300 for trading in a phone from a customer's old carrier that can be used to buy a new phone, including the latest models from Samsung and Apple. T-Mobile will also pick up the tab for early termination fees – up to $350. A family can switch over as many as five lines and phones, which could result in a credit of $3250.

T-Mobile is the smallest (by subscribers) of the four major carriers, but its aggressive “uncarrier” marketing campaign has succeeded in signing up more new customers recently than its larger rivals.

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“Customers tell me repeatedly, I love what you’re doing, I wish I could switch, but I’m handcuffed,” said John Legere, T-Mobile’s chief executive, at the company’s press conference on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

To qualify, customers will have to show documentation that they left a carrier and paid an early termination fee and also buy a new phone from T-Mobile. The offer is only being extended to customers of the three other major carriers; customers of other companies are not elibible.

The carrier's newly aggressive stance is being driven by market saturation. It’s becoming hard to find people who don’t have a wireless plan and before long, nearly 90 percent of all wireless customers will already own a smartphone, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said recently.

The old tactics of selling smartphones at subsidized prices and locking customers into long-term contracts, aren’t working very well for the carriers anymore. But things are looking up for the consumer.

Image: Christian Science Monitor

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