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AT&T Tries to Scoop T-Mobile on Paying Customers to Change, Offers Up to $450 Per Line Switch

Yesterday, we talked about some of the hints that have dropped over T-Mobile’s UnCarrier 4.0 event that will go down next week in Las Vegas at CES. During the event, we are expecting CEO John Legere to talk about a plan that will pay families to leave their current carrier (AT&T included) and join T-Mobile. Sources of ours have indicated that T-Mobile will pay ETF fees up to a $350 credit when you bring at least 3 lines over. It’s a bold move, one that AT&T appears to be trying to get out in front of. This morning, AT&T announced a new initiative that could land customers as much as $450 should they bring business over from T-Mobile. Yes, just T-Mobile. (Shots fired?)

You’ll notice I said “as much as $450,” meaning you have to meet all sorts of criteria in order reach that number. For one, in order to get the first $250, you will have to trade in your T-Mobile phone and hope that it’s worth $250. As you can imagine, not all phones are worth that much to AT&T, so you could see much lower than $250. And two, if you want to receive an extra $200, you’ll need to transfer your service to AT&T and sign-up for AT&T Next (monthly payment program for phones), buy a phone at full retail, or activate a device you already own. Since you just traded in your T-Mobile phone, that sort of rules that out.

According to the press release, AT&T thinks customers will benefit from this move because of their “larger and more reliable 4G LTE” network and because they have a “superior smartphone line-up and award-winning customer service.” They then follow-up those points by talking about Mobile Share Value plans, AT&T’s new no-contract plans that are in direct competition with everything T-Mobile stands for.

Is this all really that great of a deal? Well, AT&T does have a better network, but isn’t part of your reason for going to T-Mobile to sort of stick it to the man (and pay cheaper prices)? You tell me.

att tmobile switch

We have included the full press release, so you can read all of the fine, fine print.

AT&T Offers T-Mobile Customers up to $450 Per Line to Switch

Customers Ring in New Year with a Superior Network Experience and a Brand New Smartphone

Dallas, Texas, January 03, 2014

Starting today, AT&T* is offering T-Mobile customers the opportunity to upgrade their mobile lifestyle with value of up to $450 per line when they switch to AT&T and trade in an eligible smartphone.

In addition to a larger and more reliable 4G LTE network, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T will benefit from a superior smartphone line-up and award-winning customer service.  With AT&T, customers can take advantage of AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plans, which offer data and unlimited talk and text starting as low as $45 per month with no annual contract.** AT&T NextSMoffers customers the chance to upgrade to a new smartphone every year for $0 down.

Beginning Jan. 3, under the limited-time offer, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T can trade-in their current smartphone for a promotion card of up to $250, which can be used toward AT&T products and services.  Trade-in values will vary based on make, model and age of the smartphone, but many of the latest and most popular smartphones will qualify for a value of $250.  T-Mobile customers can receive an additional $200 credit per line when they transfer their wireless service to AT&T and choose an AT&T NextSM plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.1

Only AT&T offers the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network, covering more than 270 million Americans.2  J.D. Power awarded AT&T the “Highest Ranked Customer Service Performance Among Full-Service Wireless Providers”  and “Highest Satisfaction with the Purchase Experience among Full Service Wireless Providers” in their 2013, Volume 2 studies.

T-Mobile customers can learn more by visiting www.att.com/switchfromtmo or an AT&T retail store.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

T-Mobile customers can learn more by visiting www.att.com or an AT&T retail store.

* AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**Pricing includes 300 MB data w/ 1 smartphone w/ no annual contract (or on AT&T Nextsm installment agreement). Device charges, taxes & fees not included.

  1. 1.     Requires qualified trade-in.  Not all devices are eligible for trade-in or will receive full $250 value.   Promotion Cards may only be used toward purchases of eligible AT&T products & services or to pay your wireless bill.  Additional promo card terms may apply in select locations. Switcher Bill Credit requires port-in of eligible T-Mobile wireless number and qualified activation. Must maintain svc & good standing status for 90 days to receive credit. Credit rec’d w/in 3 bill cycles. Tmo customer must take a Mobile Share Value Plan.  Credit not available on 2-year contracts. Offer includes participating Dealers and National Retail. Additional terms and conditions apply. 
  1. 2.     Reliability claim based on data transfer completion rates on nationwide 4G LTE networks.   LTE is a trademark of ETSI.  4G LTE not available everywhere.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV service with the AT&T U-verse® brand. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

  • ConsumerHell-o

    Only thing worse than T-Mobile Customer service is AT&T customer service. After having all of them, including the original ATT which was awesome in the late 90’s. Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, T-mobile, Verizon.. I have to say the WORST is T-mobile customer support, if you don’t ever need support, you will never have a single issue, but if you do.. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and have a few shots of 151 before you call.. AT&T on the other hand offers as bad a service with very spotty coverage, and horrible support, but they do seem to be at this point cheaper than T-Mobile, which is pretty amazing since a few years ago they were at least 20 bucks a month more expensive. Personally, i have an AT&T Pre-Paid, and once this month is over, i am going back to just a house phone.. Anyone know any carriers that still do 2-way pagers?

  • David Benson

    Not sure if this will help anyone. I called Verizon to say that I am off contract and want to keep my unlimited data plan, if not I am going to take my $160 bill and go somewhere else. After getting to their loyalty department. They said they would allow me to get a new phone (at a discounted price) if I sign another 2 year contract. They said I would keep my same exact plan right now 700 family min and unlimited data. They would give me the Moto X for $250 and still keep my unlimited data plan. Now I have been a Verizon customer for many many years so that was a big factor in this.

  • ricardo

    T Mobile is unlimited why cant all do the same its a ripoff when they charge for data they never used to until they got greedy but now its backfiring so they come up with this lame way to get customers

  • Nobody’s Business

    Not enough incentive for me to switch. I’m pretty sure that T-Mobile is going to pull the same thing on AT&T soon..

  • BigDropz

    We wouldn’t leave T-Mobile even if AT&T gave us $4,550.99 to switch to them!

  • Poison

    T-Mobile maybe taking steps to make themselves better, however they still need a stronger network to compete. This is just a cheap shot at AT&T. However, VZW and AT&T still have the upper hand as far as network reliability and coverage. Until they make a bigger footprint, the CEO of T-Mobile is just blowing smoke.

  • Richard Yarrell

    TRUST ME….NOBODY will be switching from T-MOBILE to At&t anytime soon. T-MOBILE does better updates to handsets and have better UNLIMITED DATA as well as overall DATA PLANS in general. Plain and simple nothing beats T-MOBILE with a stick At&t SUCKS MONKEY BALLS

    • Mike

      Alright, I see you on here all the time saying how you love T-Mobile and hate every other carrier besides T-Mobile. You must live in a great area with T-Mobile, in fact I think most people that have T-Mobile in major metro areas have had a great experience with T-Mobile. So while your experience with T-Mobile is good, that isn’t true for all people (myself included). I don’t like AT&T either, to say the least without cussing, they have messed my family and I over. Well actually I don’t like AT&T postpaid, their prepaid service such as AIO sounds pretty dang good right about now. But because of where I live and the places I travel to most, I would still rather have AT&T over T-Mobile for one reason and that is coverage. Would you not agree that in rural areas AT&T has better coverage than T-Mobile, especially data coverage? Even though T-Mobile might have unlimited data whats the point of having unlimited data if you cant even get data in the first place or where T-Mobile still has 2G (specifically for people who are in rural areas). I mean myself I would rather have a usable phone without unlimited data than a phone with unlimited data that’s not usable. All I’m saying is if T-Mobile works good for you than great, stick with them. But your experience and other peoples experiences are two different things. But trust me also once T-Mobile gets the same level of voice and 4G data coverage that Verizon has over here, its bye bye Verizon and hello T-Mobile for me.

  • JustinCrouch

    Smoke in mirrors.

  • Sporttster

    I hope T-Mo nails Att. We desperately need competition among these providers and taking them from the top dogs is the thing to do. Bring those prices down and MAKE them compete!! GO T-MO

  • Higher_Ground

    I got an idea –
    So AT&T wants to “steal” T-mobile customers? Pay their ETF and give them the same deal they had with Tmobile. Isn’t that pretty much the standard game that cable and satellite companies play? You ask for retention, complain about how the other guy offers all the same stuff (and more) but at a lower price. They try to get you to sign up for more than you already have but at at price mid-way between what you’re currently paying and what the competition is offering. That gives you an incentive over doing nothing and makes the incremental benefit of switching not worth the hassle. Seems like a no-brainer but then again cell phone companies don’t seem to have hit the same saturation as cable/satellite, though it can’t be much longer before they do.

  • jimt

    Tmo one AT&T zero!

  • Neil Fujiwara

    Trade in device is up to $250 + $200 for coming over. I am not sure who is going to take advantage of this program, considering that most phones that would qualify for the $250 would be recently purchased. Are there any T-Mo people tempted by this offer?

    • Kevin

      I am, but we were considering the move anyways. After our last trip, Wife has been threatening to go back to Verizon, due to significant lack of coverage. I checked into our company’s corporate discount and it is decent with ATT. Verizon’s corporate discounts have been pathetic in the past.

      If I do switch, I won’t take their device trade in. They’ll only give you 100 in “ATT Bucks” for the Nexus 4 when the going rate on Ebay is closer to 200

    • Khaf

      Hell no

    • Stone Cold

      Not I 9 years in with T-Mo not interested in switching don’t travel a lot have have good coverage in Denver.

  • Pdiddy187

    “Well, AT&T does have a better network…” In all fairness I would change better to larger.

    • LionStone

      yep, there’s a lot of dropped calls with folks calling me on At&t.

  • Poison

    I think AT&T should have included all carriers, not just T-Mobile. I would have certainly left Big Red for that.

  • Grayson Carr

    Hmm… so to get $200, you have to “choose an AT&T Next plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.” So no matter which route you choose, AT&T is NOT going to subsidize a phone for you. AT&T subsidies are $350 to $450, so you are throwing away that much to get $200?

    It would be cheaper to just keep your T-Mo phone and sign up for a Mobile Share Value plan or sell your T-Mo phone and get a normal subsidized AT&T plan.

    I’m sick of AT&T always shuffling numbers to confuse average consumers into getting screwed and thinking AT&T did them a favor.

    • Fresh360

      EXACTLY! AT&T are only matching T-Mobile in name but when you look at the fine print on NEXT and now this ETF Waiver you will always pay MUCH more. This is the equivalent of someone trying to use big words to win an argument and looking stupid; don’t be stupid AT&T,

      • michael arazan

        And then ATT raises their ETF to $500 to make sure no other company can pay you to leave them and cover the ETF. I’d be betting we’ll see ETF’s raised soon, or again, because of this.

    • Kevin

      “choose an AT&T Next plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.”

      You don’t need to sign up for a NEXT plan. You just can’t get a subsidized phone. If you bring your own phone, you are still eligible for the 200 per line.

      We are considering switching from T-Mobile due to coverage issues. We were already considering it before this (wife has been threatening to go back to Verizon) and this may seal the deal. We could bring our Nexus 4’s over from T-Mobile and pay the same per month(with our corp discount), though with only15 GB of data . We’d obviously have to pay the balance off on our phones, but that 400$ would go a long way to doing that (yes I know it is an ATT bill credit, but that still frees up 400 towards paying off the phone). My only down side in the whole deal is losing unlimited data. My wife and I combined use less then 10GB per month so 15 should be plenty.

      I looked at Att’s trade in value on the Nexus 4, and it was only 100. Looked at ebay and I could make twice that amount. At that point, we may sell the Nexus 4’s and buy a couple Moto X’s directly from Moto and finance them at 0% over 18 months. We’d pay the same per month as we would for the 18 month NEXT plan, but we would actually own the phones day one and after 18 months we wouldn’t owe anything. With the 18 month NEXT plan, the phone isn’t actually paid off for 26 weeks.

      • MrDivaNYC


  • David Benson

    My big thing is I am still paying $150ish monthly with taxes and fees for two phones and plans. Stop all these deals and just offer lower prices on service. If I can get two lines (unlimited calling, unlimited texting and 2.5gb of LTE data) for under $130 including taxes you will have a loyal customer.

    • HarleyGuy72

      I currently pay $120 for two lines. Unlimited calling, texting and 2GB of data (per line, not shared) for being a loyal (Verizon) customer…you should call them and see what you can do to lower your bill.

      • David Benson

        Yeah, the other issue is I dont want to be in a contract.

    • MK17

      Buy 2 Moto Xs off contract and switch to Net10/Straight Talk. If you calculate the larger up front cost (800 off contract vs 200 on contract = $600 difference, over 24 months is $25/month. 2 Net10 2.5gb plans are $51 each after tax for a total of $127/month for 2 phones with 5gb high speed data.

      No overages, no contract.

      • David Benson

        That is what we were thinking about doing but with N5 instead. I have an extended warranty with Verizon Wireless for my phones so not sure how I would get that if I go to Net10/ST.

        • Scott

          You’d have to go through a third party warranty company.

          • David Benson

            Yeah, I was looking at Square Trade for that. 2 year plan for under $70 with coupon.

      • zurginator

        Yeah I’m looking at Straight Talk myself, but that 2.5gb high-speed limit is going to kill me. I wish someone else offered a low-minutes plan like T-mobile, since I never use voice.

    • Matthew McBride

      I have 2 moto x unlimited calling, unlimited text, one with 2.5GB data one with unlimited data for $100 including work discount. All with Tmobile on ATT that it would be at least $170 for us on verizon it was $160 but only because of grandfathered unlimited data.

      • David Benson

        What plan and service are you using?

        • Matthew McBride

          Simple Choice Plan: Unlimited Talk + Text – $80
          Unlimited Nationwide 4G – $20
          2.5 GB High-Speed Data – $10
          $110 – 15% work discount

          60$ a month less than the verizon account I switch from. I had to buy the moto x’s ($349 cyber Monday deal) but I would have had to on verizon as well to keep unlimited so that is a wash and more than paid for with the $60 a month savings.

          • David Benson

            That is pretty good. I get a discount with my company also.

    • Cowboydroid

      You can do that on T-Mobile. For $120.

  • Chris Hannan

    How can AT&T afford to do this when they can barely afford to pay phone subsidies anymore?

    • Grayson Carr

      This is cheaper for them than offering a subsidy. If you notice, you cannot get a subsidized phone if you use this deal. So instead of AT&T giving you a $350-$450 subsidy on a phone, they are giving you “$200 to switch carriers”, but no subsidy. This is a scam to trick people into thinking they are getting a deal when in fact they are not.

  • Pedro

    So, if I trade in my N4, I can bring my N5 to a $70 line for three months, get my $200 in credit, and be on my way?

    Maybe I’m out $50 in the end, after all the VZW inspired fees?

    • Grayson Carr

      Not exactly. That $200 credit you get after 3 months can only be used towards AT&T purchases or bills. Same with the credit they will give you for your Nexus 4. They aren’t giving you cash. So you would probably need to stay with them at least 6 months in your case to use up the credit they gave you.

      • Pedro

        That’s what I started thinking after I posted.
        $420 + taxes – $200 ~ $250.
        Or, $180 doing the same thing I’m doing with T-Mobile, and I keep my N4 as my burner/insurance phone.

  • Sankyou

    These deals are starting to sound like the fine-print on pharmaceutical commercials. Switching to TMobile on Sunday. Bye bye Big Red!

    • Cowboydroid

      I did the same upon receiving my Nexus 5. Best move I’ve ever made.

  • MistaButters

    Up to $450!*

    *Results not typical. Combined with diet and exercise, typical payouts were $50.

  • Fahad Beg

    S/O to T-Mobile for changing up the game. They are the only carrier doing something different. AT&T is scared.

  • NexusMan

    TMobile should respond by making the same announcement they were planning, but now adding to it, that they will pay ALL ETF fees if you switch from AT&T. Yes, just AT&T.

    • Adrynalyne

      Man if they add Verizon too that….

      Would be SWEET.

      I’ve heard of some store managers doing this…unofficially of course.

      • Adrynalyne

        And naturally, some darwin nominee downvotes me for something that would benefit everyone. Probably the troll named Chris.

        • Pedro

          I gave you a downvote just for whining.

          • Adrynalyne

            You got one for being stupid.

          • hoodieNation

            I’m down voting all of you just for making me read these dumb comments.

          • jeff manning

            Downvote for all you b1tch3s

          • MrDivaNYC

            KMA MF

          • Adrynalyne

            Smartest thing you have ever said, which is stupider than anything else said so far.

          • Chris

            Lots of things to get worked up over and this kid chooses to get upset over a downvote on a tech site…..

            did his abusive father leave him and his drunk mother? Thankfully schools are back in session monday

      • michael arazan

        I could see Verizon raising their ETF just to make sure customers couldn’t leave and other carriers payment for transfers still wouldn’t cover it.

    • JustinCrouch

      Its good that at fired before T-Mobile. Legere gives no shits and will one up them. Period.

  • TechWings

    “First, $250 of that is the maximum you’ll receive in return for trading in your existing T-Mobile handset. To get the full $250, you’ll need a recent handset in good condition – in which case you’d almost certainly get more selling it privately …

    Second, the balance of the $200 you receive just for switching is dependent on you buying a new AT&T handset outright at full retail, or activating your own unlocked phone. You’ll only receive that credit when you’ve been paying your AT&T bills for 90 days.

    Finally, AT&T is not waiving its standard $36 activation fee, so you’ll have to pay that before you start seeing any money back. Oh, and it’s time-limited offer, but AT&T hasn’t yet said when it expires.”

    Source: 9to5Google

  • tmofanjuan

    cant tmobile sue apple for almost identical plans or strategy used… i mean we all kknow tmobile is changing the mobile world but everyone else is following. i i mean apple sues samsung and htc so why not suE???

    • Chris

      what did Apple do to copy T mobile?

    • TechWings

      Yeah, I think you mean AT&T. But to answer your question, no we have a free market system. Which means “the forces of supply and demand are not controlled by a government or other authority.”

      Source: Wikipedia

  • Chris

    AT&T is scared….