T-Mobile(s tmus) isn’t just trying to coax customers over from its three nationwide competitors with its new $350 switching incentive. It’s going after the small carriers as well.
CMO Mike Sievert told Re/code that T-Mobile will soon offer to pay the early termination fees (ETFs) for customers to leave U.S. Cellular(s usm) and a dozen other regional carriers – apparently any operator still offering long-term contracts isn’t safe.
Announced last week as the latest facet of T-Mo’s “Un-carrrier” strategy, the program basically pays the ETFs up to $350 per line for individuals and whole families if they switch to the feisty magenta operator. T-Mobile is also offering up to $300 in credit for smartphone trade-ins, which you can apply to a new device.
It’s an incredibly good deal, though any potential switcher likely is still on the hook for some cost. T-Mobile is no longer subsidizing it’s phones, so new customers either have to pay the full cost of the device – new smartphone models tend to be $600 or more – either upfront or in installments with zero percent interest. But as T-Mobile has pointed out before, Verizon(s vz)(s vod) and AT&T(s t) are still charging you the full cost of the device. Those payments are just hidden in your contract plans.
T-Mobile is offering a lot more than contract forgiveness to entice consumers to switch. Not only are its rates among the cheapest of the major carriers, but its 4G network is quickly becoming one of the most powerful. Though we’re not yet buying T-Mobile’s claim that it’s LTE is fastest in the country “bar none,” recent upgrades definitely make it one of the fastest and highest capacity networks in the country. Planned upgrades this year will make that network even more formidable.