T-Mobile today announced that it would pay up to $650 per line to get customers to switch away from competitors such as Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.
Under the offer, customers who switch can get up to $300 when trading in a cell phone and up to $350 toward the early-termination fees incurred when breaking a contract with a competing carrier.
A T-Mobile spokesperson gave the example of a person turning in an iPhone 5S from AT&T: T-Mobile would pay $282 for the phone, plus whatever early-termination fee AT&T charged the customer. “You paid $200. It’s actually worth $282 … You’re gonna make a profit on your phone of $82,” said the T-Mobile spokesperson.
Early-termination fees work on a sliding scale based on how much time a customer has left on his or her contract. Once the customer receives the final bill from AT&T, for instance, the bill can be sent to T-Mobile, at which point the company will reimburse the customer for the early-termination fee.
For comparison, the T-Mobile iPhone 5S starts at $25 per month spread out over 24 months for the handset itself, plus $50 per month for 500 MB of high-speed data and unlimited voice service and text messages. Once the 500-MB data limit is reached, data speeds are slowed considerably, but there are no overage charges. For $10 more, customers can get 2.5 GB of high-speed data; for $20 more, it’s unlimited.
T-Mobile also revealed that its high-speed data network now boasts faster average download speeds than Verizon, AT&T and Sprint and that it’s been rolling out additional bandwidth to better serve locations in suburban and rural areas.