updated 04:34 pm EST, Wed January 8, 2014
Customers shifting to T-Mobile will receive up to $350 to pay old carrier fees
T-Mobile is removing the issue of Early Termination Fees (ETF) for customers wishing to change carrier, the company has revealed. The plan, confirming a rumor from earlier today, will give subscribers and families up to $350 per line to cover the ETF, with customers able to start switching from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint under the scheme starting from tomorrow.
Customers will be able to present their final bill from their old carrier to T-Mobile, either by mailing it or uploading it to a website, in order to prove the value of the ETF, though this will almost certainly take place after the customer starts transferring to T-Mobile. Customers will also have to port their number, buy a new T-Mobile phone and also trade-in their old phone in order to qualify, though they will also receive an instant credit of up to $300 for the value of the trade-in device.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere
"We're giving families a 'Get Out of Jail Free Card', claimed president and CEO John Legere, continuing "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."
Despite what could be described as a bold move in terms of the mobile phone marketplace, T-Mobile has been beaten to the punch by AT&T. Late last week, AT&T revealed it would offer a total of up to $450 per line for customers transferring from T-Mobile, with the similar offer providing up to $250 on the equipment trade-in and a $200 transfer credit once signed up to a price plan. Shortly after, Legere called out AT&T's offer, calling it a "desperate move."
In an effort to move existing customers to its Simple Choice plans, T-Mobile is also removing any migration fees for those on legacy plans, along with eliminating any existing annual service contract for the line, though only after the customer trades in their existing device and buys a new handset at the same time as switching.
During the event, Legere claimed that T-Mobile now has the fastest 4G LTE network in the United States, and plans to attack anyone else claiming otherwise. As part of his presentation Legere revealed he plans to send AT&T a cease and desist letter over its "fastest" network speed claims. The carrier has now expanded its LTE reach to a total of 209 million people in 273 metropolitan areas, and has started launching its Wideband LTE service, a 20+20MHz LTE connection, in Dallas. It also revealed it will be offering the LG G Flex, the Sony Xperia Z1S, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 on its network in the near future, with all devices able to use the new Wideband connection.
At the start of the event, Legere ran through the numbers of T-Mobile's preliminary report concerning the fourth quarter of 2013. Net customer additions hit 1.645 million, up from the 1.023 million in the previous quarter and Q4 2012's loss of 32,000 customers. Postpaid net customer additions were 869,000 customers, up from 648,000 in Q3 2013 and the 515,000 loss at the same time last year. Branded prepaid net customer additions were up by 112,000 for the quarter, beating the Q3 2013 and the Q4 2013 rises of 24,000 and 73,000 respectively.
Legere praised the results claiming "Our Uncarrier moves have clearly upended this industry." After noting that 4.4 million customers moved to T-Mobile in the last 12 months, Legere commented "We have clearly struck a chord with customers and will continue to look for ways to expand on that in 2014."
The full fourth quarter results will be released on February 25th.