Closings, delays and early dismissals

T-Mobile will pay you $650 to switch over

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NEW YORK — T-Mobile landed a one-two punch Wednesday, revealing killer 2013 subscriber numbers and making a new $650 offer to poach competitors’ customers.

The company added 4.4 million customers in 2013 — its biggest growth in eight years. The company says it’s proof its “uncarrier” strategy — aimed to upend the mobile industry — is working after only 8 months.

In the fourth quarter alone T-Mobile added 1.6 million new subscribers, bringing its total customer base to nearly 47 million people.

T-Mobile shares temporarily stopped trading after the company made the surprise announcement. The company intends to release full details of its earnings Feb. 25.

That news was paired with an offer to people who want to switch but are stuck with bigger carriers like AT&T, Verizon or Sprint: Cancel your contract and we’ll pay your termination fees up to $650. That deal includes a maximum of $350 per line and $300 per phone.

The catch? You must trade in your old phone, buy a new one from T-Mobile and fork over your current number.

The deal is likely to be perceived as a response to AT&T’s $450 pitch earlier this week to T-Mobile customers. But it’s just the latest move in the company’s strategy to kill contracts and hand customers more power.

“We will become famous for this in 2014,” CEO John Legere told reporters at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “We’re going to force the industry to change. I want every customer to have a complete choice. It’s going to be a healthier industry.”

This is the same irascible executive who crashed AT&T’s party at CES this week and got kicked out by security. He’s a former AT&T executive at that.

Like most of the company’s recent cheeky campaigns, T-Mobile urges competitors’ customers to visit T-Mobile.com/break-up and write their mobile carrier a teenage-angst-ridden break-up letter.

“It’s not a bribe. It’s transformational for our industry,” T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer, Mike Sievert, said at CES.

He claimed a family of four on an unlimited data plan could save $1,880 in two years and noted the economic significance for a middle-income American family.

Chief Technology Officer, Neville Ray, also said that T-Mobile can now claim a faster network than AT&T in some cases. Legere joked that he might pull another media stunt by sending AT&T, which frequently claims to be the fastest, a cease-and-desist letter along with a camera crew to tape it.

“We’re going to level the playing field,” Ray said at CES.

6 comments

  • FaithC

    “The catch? You must trade in your old phone, buy a new one from T-Mobile and fork over your current number.”

    My old phone is almost brand new and all of my business associates have my currant number. That would be a royal pain for me to switch. You can get a deal with your carrier if you have a good credit history with them and you call and explain what you are looking for and they will work with you. I found there were things I was paying for I was not using so I talked to my carrier and we found a plan that was $30 a month lower for me.

  • mbierlik

    Who said that you had to give up your number? Who says you have to go with that plan? I have a 4 line T-Mobile account and I was able to keep all my previous numbers by having them ported over. The 4G is everywhere and when I am able to hit the 4G LTE it is screaming fast. No matter who you go with, make smart choices. Shop and compare, services for dollar to dollar, end of story.

    • Terry Torain

      m lik, could you please read more carefully?it DOES say you have
      to give up your old number if you are N O T a t mobile customer!

  • T Duke

    that’s one of the catches for them to pay your early termination fees and get your business from another provider.

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