Rumors abound T-Mobile’s next phase of their Uncarrier program could involve buying customers out of their current contracts with competing carriers. One of those competitors just beat them to the punch. AT&T is offering up to $450 in incentives to customers switching from T-Mobile in an effort to sway users away from a service provider that has been causing headaches for others in the same business.
AT&T is offering up to $250 (depending on condition) to folks who trade-in their current T-Mobile smartphone. The money is distributed in the form of a promotion card good toward AT&T products and services. Additionally, customers can earn a $200 credit by opting into an AT&T Next plan or buying a device at full price. Activating a currently owned device on AT&T’s network qualifies a customer for the promotion as well (basically the credit applies to anything but a traditional subsidized service contract).
It’s a brazen move by AT&T. T-Mobile has caused quite the shakeup in the wireless industry, introducing their JUMP program, redefining the payment and upgrade process for mobile devices along with lower service rates. Every major carrier has followed suit and offered similar buying options in the months since. AT&T has been a particular target, and it’s suspected T-Mobile’s next move — to be unveiled next week at CES — would target the carrier by offering to buy out the early termination fees of customers switching from one network to the other. Not wanting to again be caught playing catchup, AT&T has struck first. Good for them.
UPDATE: T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere has issued a quick response via press release.
“This is a desperate move by AT&T on the heels of what must have been a terrible Q4 and holiday for them. I’m flattered that we have made them so uncomfortable! We used AT&T’s cash to build a far superior network and added Un-carrier moves to take tons of their customers – and now they want to bribe them back! Consumers won’t be fooled…nothing has changed; customers will still feel the same old pain that AT&T is famous for. Just wait until CES to hear what pain points we are eliminating next. The competition is going to be toast!”