As many guessed, when T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced Uncarrier 4.0 today at CES 2014, the carrier introduced the idea of paying off ETFs from other carriers as a way to make it easier for customers to switch carriers, especially family plans with multiple lines of service. Unlike AT&T’s limited attempt targeted at T-Mobile, Uncarrier 4.0 makes the payment of ETFs for any of the other three major carriers in the U.S. part of T-Mobile’s standard operations.
The payment of the ETF can be for an amount of up to $350 per line for up to 5 lines of service. There are some other requirements in order to qualify for the ETF reimbursement. First, new customers will have to trade-in their old smartphone. They will get an instant credit for that phone of up to $300. Customers will then have to agree to purchase a new device from T-Mobile, with many of their devices currently selling for $0 down. Finally, you have to agree to port your existing number over from your current carrier. Once all those conditions are met, customers just bring in their final bill from their old carrier showing the amount of the ETF they had to pay and they will be reimbursed.
T-Mobile points out the savings can be significant for families. For customers with five lines, all of which have $350 ETFs, that reimbursement alone will be $1,750. The ability to buy new devices for $0 down also makes things very easy for customers who want to switch and have little or no cash available to do so.
To close things out, T-Mobile is also helping customers have a little fun at the expense of the other carriers by creating a “break-up” letter that can be shared across social networks.
T-Mobile is not leaving their current customers out in the cold as part of Uncarrier 4.0. They can migrate to a Simple Choice plan by trading in their current device. Migration fees will be waived and their existing annual service contract will be cancelled at no penalty.
Do you think this will be a winning strategy for T-Mobile? Will other carriers have to go down this same path? Let us know in the comments and then continue to check out TalkAndroid for more coverage of CES 2014.