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After being kicked out of an AT&T event at CES 2014 earlier this week, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere hit the stage to introduce Un-carrier 4.0, which offers customers on rival networks a "get out of jail free" card to join the magenta network.
T-Mobile US announced Wednesday that the nation's fourth-placed carrier will now pay early termination fees (ETF) charged by rivals AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint to get customers out of existing contracts.
ETFs are one of the hardball tactics carriers use to keep subscribers chained to their service, effectively the other end of subsidized pricing that assures companies will recoup on hardware costs should a customer decide to jump ship. Such fees are typically as high as $350, but become lower over time as the two-year contract plays out.
Beginning Thursday, T-Mobile will now reimburse customers from any of the three major national carriers up to $350 per line for such early termination fees, which can be done by mailing or uploading the final bill.
But there is a catch, sort of: Customers will have to trade-in existing handsets new ones from T-Mobile, as well as port existing numbers to the carrier. However, the company is offering an instant credit of up to $300 as well as $0 down plus 24 monthly device payments for well-qualified customers as an incentive to switch.
T-Mobile's latest attack is squarely aimed at users stuck in existing family plans, which the carrier claims is holding up to 40 percent of families hostage, according to Nielsen research. Un-carrier 4.0 is intended to remove that final "pain point" for such customers so they can switch to T-Mobile and save big money in the long run.
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