T-Mobile announces uncarrier 4.0, will pay ETF fees for families that switch to T-Mobile

by: Andrew GrushJanuary 8, 2014


At CES 2014 T-Mobile officially announced phase 4.0 of its uncarrier event, and as expected, T-Mobile is now offering to pay off early termination fees for families that wish to switch over to the uncarrier.

Basically the buyout plan works like this: you trade in your Sprint, Verizon or AT&T handset and get up to $300 instant credit when you sign up for a T-Mobile plan. After that, you send in your final AT&T bill with the early termination fees listed and T-Mobile will credit your account up to an additional $350. This adds up to a total $650 per line for families looking to make the switch. T-Mobile says the ETF buyout plan also applies to T-Mobile customers that are currently on a legacy plan with an existing contract.

[quote qtext=”We’re giving families a ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card. 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.” qperson=”John Legere” qsource=”CEO, T-Mobile” qposition=”center”]

Basically the reason for offering this “get of out jail free” card is simply: many families are stuck with their carrier due to the fact that none of the family member’s contracts end at the same, leaving them dealing with an endless cycle of contract renewals. T-Mobile’s ETF buyout option gives these families a way out. While switching to T-Mobile might not be the solution for everyone, it’s still a pretty tempting offer for those that live in an area with solid T-Mobile coverage.

So when will this new ETF offer go into effect? The new ETF buyout program will be available for customers starting tomorrow, and will be a permanent offer. In other words, the ETF buyout system is here to stay and not just a limited time deal.

Aside from the ETF buyout program, the rest of the uncarrier phase 4.0 event focused on how T-Mobile’s LTE now reaches 209 million people across 273 metro areas. According to real-time tests, T-Mobile also reports that their network is in fact the fastest 4G network out there — despite AT&T’s claim. Furthermore, T-Mobile says that this will get even better as they deploy their new Wideband LTE beginning in Dallas, which is said to offer speeds that are double what is currently available to the network.

What do you think of T-mobile’s new ETF pay-off plan? Anyone planning on making the switch?

  • MasterMuffin

    They must have some kind of an evil plan! No way any company would do these things without a catch! :D

    • Chris

      Someone had to step up and it was T-Mobile. They finally started to think outside of the corporate box. Go TMo!!

  • Guest123

    I don’t buy that T-Mo’s LTE reaches 209 people, unless that’s when they are driving. Around here you only get LTE on main roads, once in a neighborhood you are on 3G.


      You are one person in one location. LTE deployment continues. Optimization is ongoing. It will only get better.

      • smokebomb

        I noticed an improvement in HSPA+ a couple months ago. They’re definitely taking advantage of the extra money they’re making.

  • Phil Rigby

    Reading their ad, I see “We’ll pay to terminate your family”.

    Start with my mother-in-law first, please :-)

  • Joe

    Is it only limited to families and not single cell phone accounts? Reading the details on another site, they are also requiring to purchase a phone from T-Mobile – unlocked phones seem to be out of the deal.


      But they will give you up to 300 bucks on your traded in phone in addition to paying your ETF up to 350 for a total of 650, and yes it does cover individual plans as well.

      • Johnny B!

        I don’t know what device they are giving 300 for? My note 3 or my wife’s iphone 5s was not worth 300 according to their trade in value.

  • Siddharth Shukla

    I would like to see how many subscribers are gained after one month or one quarter.

  • Harry

    By forcing everyone to buy a phone from them (which most people will with monthly payments), they are simply moving people from one hell to another “heller” :). At least VZ has the best network and that is not a perception but a fact.

    If they had allowed it with a BYOD device (where they could only pay the termination fees), this would have been ground breaking.

    • Johnny B!

      Completely agree. This is not thinking outside the box, nor revolutionary just another marketing scheme.

    • smokebomb

      I get better reception on T-Mobile than I did on Verizon 15 miles outside D.C. last time I was there. I’ve had T-Mobile for over a year and no complaints. If you live in the middle of nowhere, Verizon will be your only option. If you don’t travel for work and live near or in a metro area, why pay Verizon more money for less benefit? My T-Mobile bill is 30 dollars less than my Verizon bill and I get unlimited everything. When I get a new phone and switch to post paid, I’ll have unlimited everything plus 2.5GB of hotspot for the exact same price. Verizon may have the largest network, but $100/month isn’t worth it when I stay in the same 50 mile radius for 95% of the year.

  • bobprobert

    do i have to turn in my sprint phone to get the deal? i can get much more on craigslist for my note 2 than the $106 tmo has estimated on their website

  • Amadeus Klein

    Good news…. But now I’m conflicted by the fact sprint upped their game too… I have a sprint family plan, and now it would be on par with a T-mobile one (Price wise)… I was planning to jump over as soon as they made the announcement, now I’m not sure… It might actually come down to overall coverage….

  • Johnny B!

    This buy out plan is BS, I went to tmobile today. So I have a note 3, that I Need to sell to them for $175(it’s part of the deal) then I need to buy a new device (also part of the deal) I can’t use a tmobile device that I already have. So to buy my note 3 back on T-Mobile, I need to pay 30 bucks a month more which only brings my bill to 10 dollars less that what I’m paying with at&t, for the service that tmobile provides and slower data speeds. It’s not worth it.