T-Mobile announces “get out of jail free” cards for people who want to leave their carriers



We’re sitting in on a very loose-mouthed press conference by T-Mobile CEO John Legere right now, where he aided the company in announcing their new “Get out of jail free” card. “Jail,” if you haven’t guessed it, is your commitment to other carriers under a contract that charges you to leave. So what will this “card” do for you? It’s simple: bust you out while  T-Mobile foots the bill.

To explain it deeper, T-Mobile says that an eligible phone trade-in plus the cost of paying your ETF could give you up to $650 for each line in total value for switching over. It’ll have to be from one of the big carriers, you will have to fork over your old phone to do it, and you will have to port your number, but you won’t have to pay a dime (and you might even be in for a little extra cash at the end of it all).

Starting tomorrow, customers from the three major national carriers who hand in their eligible devices at any participating T-Mobile location and switch to a postpaid Simple Choice Plan can receive an instant credit, based on the value of their phone, of up to $300. They then purchase any eligible device, including T-Mobile’s most popular smartphones, now priced at $0 down (plus 24 monthly device payments, for well-qualified customers).

After customers get the final bill from their old carrier (showing their early termination fees), they either mail it to T-Mobile or upload it to T-Mobile then sends an additional payment equal to those fees, up to $350 per line. Trade-in of their old phone, purchase of a new T-Mobile phone and porting of their phone number to T-Mobile are required to qualify.

And it’s as simple as that. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, with other carriers offering similar deals for customers. The difference is that T-Mobile is planning on making this a permanent mainstay. It’s yet another of their bold moves that they hope will convince consumers that T-Mobile is the place to be. They’ve already managed to move 4.4 million new customers to their network in the past year, which makes them the fastest growing carrier in America right now.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Pass

  2. 4.4 billion customers 0_o??!!?!

  3. 4.4 billion? Wow that is a lot of customers…

  4. I think the last paragraph should read “4.4 million new customers”, not 4.4 billion.

    1. What are you talking about? Clearly more than half the population of the Earth moved to Tmo. Sheesh. Where have you been?


    2. lol he’s a dope.

  5. Sprint with their terrible LTE market is gonna hate this lol

    1. Yes since all mobile phone customers are now T-Mobile subscribers

    2. Yeah, this would be great for me! I would go from LTE coverage with sprint, to EDGE with TMobile! AWESOME!

      1. Sprint has LTE?

      2. You know Tmobile covers more people with LTE than Sprint? And sprints LTE is only 5x5mhz so a lot slower than Tmobile in places they have it. Tmobile hspa+ is better than Sprint LTE

        1. I feel sorry for you that your reading comprehension skills are so low. Do you need some assistance finding a tutor?

          For *ME*, where *I* am, Sprint has LTE. Tmobile has Edge. Snowball’s chance in hell I’d choose Edge over LTE in any situation.

          That’s really great for folks that live in big cities that TMobile is only interested in people that live in big cities. Good for you, you have great options available to you, enjoy it. TMobile sucks puppy balls when you’re NOT in the city.

          I’ve seen 25Mbps on Sprint’s LTE here. If that’s what 5x5Mhz gets me, then I’m not real concerned about it.

          1. People really only see what they want but I agree with you. Even though I reside in Houston, I work out in West Texas in the Permian Basin & surrounding area and TMO is by far the worst of the big 4. Even Sprint with their horribad network has a better handle on the smaller cities and towns.

      3. My friend has LTE on Sprint. He’s enjoying his 1.5Mbps. The slowest speeds I had while on LTE on Tmo is 5Mbps.

        Yes, they’re both 3G speeds, but I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from. LoL!!

        1. TMobile would be the obvious choice there. The 6-25Mbps I get on Sprint LTE here is a little better than the 100kbps or so I would get on TMobile.

          1. How is that? Since when was tmobile 100kbps unless your on edge. Most people that can get tmobile service never go below 6mbps as long as they have hspa.

          2. Seriously? I say right above, TMobile is EDGE here.

          3. Bwahahahahahaaa!! Yea, I would use Sprint in that case, too.

        2. Tmo has a steady 20 mb per second using mobile. May I add Tmo LTE rivals my home wifi.

          1. Awesome. Show me how to get that 20mbps on the EDGE that I clearly said they are here?

    3. Yup. I jumped with all of my lines.

  6. This will be a handy card to play when the next Nexus comes out and Verizon gets the shaft from Google (or turns their nose up, whichever).

  7. too bad I’m already with Magenta. for all of those on Splint, Horizon, and BL&T, this is for y’all!!!! The time is NOW!!!! (or when that kicka$$ phone comes to T-Mobile)

    1. I don’t get your iterations of the major carriers. =.[

  8. Thanks for the correction, guys. Fixed. ;)

  9. Very tempting. I’m ready to leave Verizon and this may be my way out of their contract

    1. Same here. My Verizon contract is up in July and I’ve been thinking about going back to T-Mobile. Their network might not be as good as Verizon’s but I miss unlimited data and having a cheaper bill. Oh, and Nexus 5.

  10. So if T-Mobile hates contracts, what’s stopping someone from letting T-Mobile pay their ETF, then go back to Verizon or At&t after a month?

    1. Nothing’s stopping them. That’s the risk T-Mobile is taking. They are betting that you’ll love it there. Not everyone will love it there, but they will attract more eyes and more business in the end run.

      EDIT — though I should note people will have to pay off the rest of their phone if they decide to leave early, which is even more expensive than paying an ETF.

      1. There is the T-Mobile branded phone you have to buy… Probably going to cost more total (per line) than the ETF fees. So unless you get a Nexus (or something else unlocked) from T-Mobile, you’ll then have a T-Mobile phone you need to pay off, resell, and then buy new over at the new carrier.

        Alternately, you could suffer with a $70 featurephone for that month…

        1. The Alcatel!? Oh hail no.

          1. I got the Nokia Lumia 521 from Tmo – paying $7/mo – total of $144!! Great deal for a nice little Windows 8 phone that does pretty much everything my fancier, much more expensive Lumia 920 did when I had AT&T. The only exception I’ve found is that the camera doesn’t have a flash. Check out the facts, people, before you start Tmo bashing. I love their customer service!!

      2. Paying off your phone on T-Mobile only SEEMS more expensive than paying an ETF on another carrier because they already milked that hidden money out of you with the $XXX upfront plus the higher monthly bills, so it doesn’t seem as bad.

        1. It comes out to be higher if you bought a iPhone 5s ($600). If you where smart you’ll bring your own device and enjoy the savings with tmobile with less commitment.

          1. I dont think it deals with smarts more than preference in this situation. I actually prefer the jump plan. I have the ability (money) to payoff my Note 3 anytime but I figure why when I will more than likely get the Note 4 and Tmobile will just cover any left over payments. I like the latest devices and I find this cheaper.

        2. How are the monthly bills higher? They are actually lower than sprint and att and definitely lower than verizon. Plus the phone thing might be expensive but your still getting a phone. With the etf, its just a fee that gives you nothing at the end once you pay. If you pay off your phone, in the end your left with a phone that can be resold.

          1. “they” in my post meant the OTHER carriers. I already know T-Mobile’s the better deal. Guess I wasn’t clear.

          2. Got it.

    2. Nothing. But Tmobile is making the only reason if you don’t have good signal with them.

    3. If someone’s decides to switch to T-Mobile, whatever the reason is will be good enough to stay on T-Mobile. No contracts, cheap fees, great phones. The coverage may not be as good as Verizon, but no one is. So that’s an invalid comparison. Compared to AT&T, T-Mobile coverage and speeds are phenomenal for me in Washington. And I’m an hour from Seattle so I’m not in a very urban area.

      T-Mobile really has stepped up and are frequently expanding their LTE and coverage. Plus, why would someone switch to T-Mobile for a month and switch back? They would have to change phones and Sims twice, and also pay off their T-Mobile phone to switch back and be locked into another 2 year contract and having to purchase another compatible phone and pay ridiculous prices for service. That makes no sense and would cost extra time and money, so I hardly see anyone making the switch and then going back after one month. Unless they have absolutely no service with T-Mobile, or want to use AT&T prepaid (which is still inferior to T-Mobile’s).

      1. still a contract. what you do think financing a phone over 2 years is?

        1. It’s not the same thing. You can leave T-Mobile anytime you want, you just have to pay off what you owe on your device, if anything. On other contract carriers you’re in a CONTRACT-CONTRACT and thus if you want to leave early you have to pay more breakup ETF fees in ADDITION to the hidden remaining subsidized cost of your device.

        2. what do you think financing a CAR is?

        3. There is no ETF on the phone financing. Unlike cars, you don’t take a hit on your credit score either. You can pay it off right away.

        4. It might be a contract but it is easily fixed. Don’t finance. But a used phone of swappa or ebay. It’s as simple as that. The financing is there for those that want a new phone every year or for those that can’t afford a phone up front at full price. There still is no contract. Even if your financed you can leave at anytime. They just make you pay the full amount of the phone immediately and like any other company if you don’t pay it they will just send it to collections but your still not under a contract.

    4. Nothing…but why would you leave a contract just to go back to get stuck in another one?

  11. Dammit, switched from At&t to Tmo a few months back with a massive ETF for 5 lines.

    1. I’m going to ask them if they’ll hook us up somehow since I came over a few months ago too, 2 lines.

      1. Well, hey, I switched in June, so I deserve some free sourgrape money too! j/k

        (Paid ATT a $205 ETF on my 1-year-old S3 iirc, but I’m already ahead in savings ($40/mo saved vs ATT) even after the ETF so I’m not complaining (too much))

  12. I would consider it it but in my area you’re lucky if you find a signal very often. I think you have to be in or very near an urban area.

  13. This is putting your money where your mouth is. I hope they don’t roll this out nationwide but only where they have lte/hspa+/3G and a strong footprint.

  14. Nope, I like verizons coverage. T-Mobile is trying, but coverage is their biggest problem

    1. Yes, their coverage is spotty from what I’ve seen. But my experience with Tmo compared to Sprint, I’ve seen Tmo get better. I’ve never seen Sprint coverage get better while in contract.

      It’s like once a certain city has “LTE” or “coverage”, they stop expanding in that city.

      On Tmo, I’ve witnessed better overall speeds and connectivity grow while being on them.

      It’s always been a slow process though, but I’ve seen improvements. Hmm…

    2. When was the last time you tried them out?

  15. @guitarist5122:disqus I understand your complaint. Verizon is the best in coverage. But if you do not travel and coverage is good in the place you live, T-Mobile is less expensive, has fewer restrictions, unlimited data on your phone (if you pay for it), don’t charge for tethering and actually give you proper discount when your device is paid for. I had T-Mo for years, and went to Verizon. Coverage is great, but I am on limited data, and can’t tether without rooting and hacking my phone. My contract is up next month and I am going back.

    1. Try PagePlus. Prepaid and they run off of Verizon’s towers.

  16. Then you are stuck with a 2 year commitment on a horrible network. No thanks. Robbing one to pay another corporation.

    1. You’re not in a commitment because you’re not in a contract if you move to Tmo. So you can just pay off the phone and leave.

      Or if you just brought over your phone because it was possibly unlocked, you just leave. LoL!!

      1. you are in a contract, even with tmobile. to do this program, you have to buy the phone for full inflated price from tmo…or finance it over 2 years..which is a 2 year contract. wake up people. it’s all marketing.

        1. Except it’s not a contract. Pay off your phone in 1 month if you want. It isn’t a time based contract, you can pay off the phone whenever you want.

          1. And by paying off your phone you actually reduce your monthly payment (having eliminated the phone payment).

        2. The phone price is not inflated. the difference is that it is not subsidized by the carrier to artificially lower it.

    2. Have you even been paying attention to tmos whole new ‘un’carrier plan? you aren’t locked into any contract.

    3. Here in Charlotte I’ve never had a problem. Even when I travel the east coast I have no problems. Sometimes I get on other networks when outside coverage. Worst place I’ve had coverage is deep in the Appalachian mountains.

  17. I moved over a few months ago with my Nexus 4 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which are unlocked. I wonder if they can phenegle something here.

  18. $350 *per line*?!?! So if someone were to move five lines, with the max ETF payout on each line, and trade five qualifying phones, T-Mobile is effectively giving them $3,250. Is that right?

    1. It states they will pay whatever your ETF statement says. You have to send it in to them.

  19. Wow

  20. my&nbspbuddy’s&nbspstep-sister&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­κ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­­­­68/hr&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­℮­­­­­­τ.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbspunemployed&nbspfor&nbsp6&nbspΜ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspcheck&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­­­­20822&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κing&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­℮­­­­­­τ&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­υ­­­­­­rs.&nbspthis&nbspwebѕ­­­­­­і­­­­­­τ­­­­­­℮,…&nbspWW&#x57&#46Googleproject2014activitybusinessgetnowactivitybusiness&#46&#113&#x72&#46&#x6E&#101&#x74&#x2F&#109&#x4Bl&#106/

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    1. If I can make $68.25 i’ll click it.

  21. Too bad for people who actually travel and need nationwide coverage. Come holler at me TMO when your footprint gets anywhere near as good as Verizon’s and then I might get back with you. Even then I’m still a little shell shocked from TMO’s horrible building penetration, don’t know if it has improved over the years.

    1. What state do you live in? I’ve been in underground bank vaults, basements, the Lincoln Tunnel, etc and never had dropped signal.

      1. The Lincoln Tunnel… Let me guess, you measure “nationwide travel” in blocks…

        1. Usually cocoa leaves.

      2. At the time,10-12 story Hi Rise building in Houston. Coverage was horrible on the 6th floor. Granted it has been years since i was last with T-Mobile, like circa 2010.

        1. Where exactly is this Hi Rise you are refering to? Or please provide a name of it. I live in the Houston, TX area myself and downtown and midtown coverage for T Mobile is extremely good. I am always on LTE speeds. I party alot and stayed many nights at the Hyatts and Hilton which are very tall hotels. In fact, the city is where I always get my best coverage. It is only when I travel to rural or backwood areas like Dayton to visit my wife’s family, I drop bars. What year(s) were you staying there? The coverage has gotten a whole lot better since 2010. LTE was not even a factor then.

          1. Westheimer & Wilcrest area where I was working at

          2. You are on the Southwest, and that is a very busy area. The coverage over there is excellent right now. I assume this “Hi Rise” is somewhere closer to the Galleria area or Midtown. However, basing your experience on T mobile’s coverage in 2010 is like comparing a HTC EVO to the Galaxy line-up. Things evolve with time. I will agree that Verizon has excellent coverage in most places. However,I just am not a fan of being locked down to contracts anymore, and not having unlimited data. I stream on the go. I am a Gemini who is always multitasking and I need my data.

          3. Good to know that they’ve improved their network over the years. I still live in Houston but I go back & forth to West Texas where I’m working now. Unfortunately, TMO doesn’t have a handle on the smaller cities & towns. I even left AT&T for Verizon because Verizon is just that much better than the competition when it comes to rural areas.

          4. I admit, my cousin and his wife, who has Verizon, do have coverage in the smaller towns and areas. However, they pay more than I do with four lines on tmobile. I understand your situation, and you will need coverage that you can depend on in your area.

    2. I travel with both verizon and tmobile devices. I get better signals on tmobile much more often. I guess you visit ghettos a bit too often:)

      1. Nah, I work in the Oilfield mainly beween New Mexico and West Texas. T-Mobile is A$$, just like your comment. I don’t have a problem paying for quality, then again TMO is really meant for broke people looking to save a buck … perhaps you ???

        1. Or maybe it’s for people who don’t want to waste money needlessly. Enjoy that oil money while it lasts bud. Your Ghetto fabulous lifestyle in Van Horne is sure to be the envy of all!

          1. Don’t worry I will and I have an engineering degree to fall back on …. nyuk nyuk

      2. With a name like “TheJunkie” i assume you sleep under a bridge. I prefer Tmobile myself, but why do we have to get disrespectful?

    3. I had sprint and verizon for the past several years. Verizon was very consistent and was almost everywhere I went. Sprint was everywhere verizon was too but with slower speeds.Then I finally canceled verizon and stuck with sprint. Whenever my signal wasn’t good I forced roam my phone on to a verizon tower which worked pretty good. But then my speeds with sprint took a nose dive. Even when roaming on verizon towers the 3g from verizon was horrible. Finally 4 months ago I decided to give tmobile a chance. Best thing i ever did. Yes, they don’t have the best coverage but their speeds are faster and more reliable than sprint and verizon put together, including their lte. So far after all my traveling Ive only hit a couple spots that have dead spots. So that little disadvantage is nothing compared to the speeds I now get and all the money I am saving.

  22. Come to the Magenta side!

  23. This is an awesome deal. I started with Verizon before they were even Verizon, then had at&t and even Sprint. Been with T-Mobile a long time and don’t regret it a bit

  24. So if T-Mobile makes this permanent, and the other major carriers follow suit, why even have contracts any more? I’m all for that scenario to see what transpires.

  25. what i’m wondering is what’s an eligible device, I have a galaxy s from sprint, yeah the first one, and my etf is like 250 right now, if i trade in the phone and get like 5 dollars but the etf is well within the 350 they’re offering would I still be able to do it? Or is my phone too old?

    1. Even if the phone is valued at $0.00, as long as you trade it in and get a new tmobile device they will reimburse your cancellation fee.

  26. As an existing T-Mobile customer the new plans devised over the years are going to cost me dearly. I currently have 4 lines and pay 160 / month. A similar plan when my contract expires is going to cost me 230 / month. An increase of more than 40%.

    1. Won’t you be grandfathered in?

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