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Android Central @ CES

T-Mobile CEO John Legere and company are live on stage at CES, and they have sent out the official announcement about Uncarrier v. 4.0. We've got three major components:

Get out of Jail Free — T-Mo will pay your ETF if you want to switch from AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. If you have an eligible phone to trade in, you could get as much as $650.

The fastest 4G network in the US — T-Mo's 4G now reaches 209 million people in 273 markets. According to real-time speed tests, it's also the fastest network in the USA. It's going to get even better, as they add spectrum and deploy their Wideband LTE (20+20) which begins in Dallas.

Three new Wideband LTE-capable devices — The LG Flex, the Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch, and the Xperia Z1s will all be able to take full advantage of the new Wideband LTE network. We'll be sure to give each of them a workout.

Of course, Mr. Legere always has plenty to say so stay tuned! The press release is after the break.

T-Mobile Delivers Contract Freedom for Families By Paying Off Early Termination Fees

Company marks 1st anniversary of Un-carrier revolution by offering to reimburse entire amount of customers’ early termination fees when they switch from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon

LAS VEGAS — Jan. 8, 2014 — One year ago at International CES, T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) threw down the gauntlet, promising relief for customers fed up with a broken, arrogant wireless industry. Since then, the company has delivered on its promise with a relentless barrage of Un-carrier industry innovations.

In its latest move, T-Mobile is eliminating one of the last remaining obstacles for individuals and families wanting to switch from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon to the Un-carrier by offering to pay off their early termination fees. With an eligible phone trade-in, the total value of the offer to switch to T-Mobile could be as high as $650 per line. 

“We’re giving families a ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card,’ said John Legere, president and chief executive officer of T-Mobile. “Carriers have counted on staggered contract end dates and hefty early termination fees to keep people bound to them forever. But now families can switch to T-Mobile without paying a single red cent to leave them behind.”

Customers have been flocking to T-Mobile for its no annual service contract Simple Choice Plan, industry-leading JUMP!™ upgrade program, unlimited global data at no extra charge in 100-plus countries, and most recently for Free Data for Life on every tablet — up to 200 MB of free 4G LTE data every month for as long as they own their tablet and use the registered device with T-Mobile. But Nielsen research suggests up to 40 percent[i] of families hold back from switching because of high early termination fees (ETFs), and a recent online poll conducted by GigaOM suggests that 78 percent[ii] would switch to T-Mobile if their ETF was paid. ETFs can cost as much as $350 per line. Multiply that two, three or four times for a family, and switching becomes an extremely expensive proposition.

“Carriers like to make you think you’re just signing up for two years with their family plans, but with staggered expiration dates and early termination fees, they’re really locking you in forever,” said Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile. “Now, families are free to switch without worrying about early termination fees. And by switching to T-Mobile, a family of four can save $1,880 over two years compared to an AT&T shared family plan[iii].”

Here’s how T-Mobile’s offer to pay off these fees works:

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.

This offer to pay early termination fees provides families with a quick way to escape carrier contracts that have deterred them from pursuing a better and more affordable wireless experience with T-Mobile. 

T-Mobile is also making it easier for its longtime customers to migrate to Simple Choice plans as well without incurring any migration fees. To qualify for this option a current customer under contract trades in their current device and purchases a new T-Mobile device and switches to Simple Choice. In addition to waiving the migration fee, T-Mobile will also eliminate the existing annual service contract for that customer’s line. 

With a Simple Choice Plan from T-Mobile, families start with one line at $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web with up to 500 MB of 4G LTE data. They can add a second phone line for $30 per month, and each additional line is just $10 per month. In short, a family could get four lines for just $100 per month (plus taxes and fees). The potential savings are so significant that if every single AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customer switched to a Simple Choice Plan, T-Mobile estimates they would save up to $20 billion [iv] collectively each year.

In addition to great family plan savings, individuals and families can also enjoy an incredible wireless experience thanks to T-Mobile’s rapidly expanding nationwide 4G LTE network– now the fastest[v] in the United States. For more information, visit the T-Mobile newsroom.

About T-Mobile US, Inc.:
As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: "TMUS") is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The company's advanced nationwide 4G and expanding 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences for customers who are unwilling to compromise on quality and value. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile US provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. For more information, please visit


Reader comments

T-Mobile's Uncarrier 4.0 announcements


Finally!!! 3:53pm eastern!!!:Sheez!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

OMG I'm tempted to switch. I actually get decent coverage from T-MO on the East coast of Massachusetts. Have more LTE coverage throughout my travels with T-MO than Sprint.

You've peeked my interest. Can you give me a ball-park-figure of your location/s? I live near the Auburn area and work in Worcester. Do you have constant coverage? I've heard that the dropped calls is something to get used to with this service, can you please comment? I am also a Sprint customer and this is DEFINITELY tempting me. Speed tests will also be great, if you can.

Full LTE coverage everywhere that I went in Lynn,Salem, Revere,East Boston, Boston, Saugus,Peabody,Danvers, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood(although Norwood gets spotty and switches to HSPA+ depending where in Norwood but HSPA+ is not bad so no biggie)
This was on a Nexus 4 hacked to run on LTE and to my knowledge it also had no LTE antenna inside so the LTE coverage wasn't even as good as it should have been. I was on $30 prepaid plan with 100 mins and 5 GB data. Never had a dropped call. But on a 100 mins plan it's hard to tell.

The N4 has all the required hardware. I don't get any better signals or speeds on my N5 than with my LTE enabled N4. Same ridiculously fast LTE speeds, no dropped calls on either. Just FYI. Tmobile $30 plan FTW.

My Parents live in Oxford and I moved recently to Worcester. I work in Worcester and travel through Auburn alot. The reception has been fine

Doesn't sound like it. I don't think the Nexus 5 is compatible with their wide-band LTE.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Yes it will, the post doesnt name all the devices that will be able to use the 20x20. The lg g2 and s4 will be able to use 20x20 also

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Assuming 20x20 is the wideband referenced in the article, are there more than what you listed or is that it at present time? I ask because this is really tempting, but I want to see how many phones are ready for the future.

I'm in Chicago as well. From the Tmobile press release

As the company continues to expand T-Mobile Wideband LTE, every T-Mobile customer with an LTE device will be able to experience a speed boost. In addition, customers with the latest LTE-capable devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Nexus 5 and LG G2 can take advantage of the maximum speeds available from T-Mobile Wideband LTE powered by 20+20 MHz LTE.

I'd switch if I knew I'd have signal. as it stands I'll sit tight another year and see where this goes. I'd even switch from my 1520 to a GFlex or G2 or something just to save some cash over time.

I'm in the same boat.. I have a 1520 as well and if I knew I'd have coverage I'd switch but I'm pretty sure it's asstasstic out here.

I don't think the 1520 would have the support for T-Mobile's bands anyway being an AT&T device. There would be some overlap but I don't think you'd get the best speeds. But, it wouldn't hurt if you research it yourself since I'm no expert.

Correct. Please don't spread wrong tech info because you work for AT&T.

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Finally I don't know if this is their final uncarrier move but this will DEFINITELY shake things up. I can't believe they are doing this and it's even possible for them. I already switched a few months ago and I bought a cheap $150 4G smartphone from wal-mart with the $30 plan. If it diddn't work I would have returned the phone for a refund and swallowed the $30 except even then I think you can get a refund. Not only does t-mobile work where I am but it's almost full 4G. Verizon is non existent and AT&T barely works. So glad more people will switch to t-mobile now.

Now get the Moto X t-mobile and have it part of the JUMP plan.

I feel like a broken record asking, but why won't any of the other carriers allow for Google Voice Integration the way Sprint does. I would leave in a second, but I don't want to have two phone numbers and I don't want to give up the ability to make phone calls from any internet connected computer as I can with voice.

Google voice is going bye bye anyways, might as well get on a real number.

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I have a real number. I've had the same cell phone number now for 12 Years and have no desire to lose it. It's just that at Sprint you can use your cell number as your Google Voice number so you don't need to have two separate numbers.

It seems like a no brainer to me for the providers. Get people to use voice for their texting and voice mail and it will count against their data caps which is what the providers are trying to make money on now anyway with moving away from unlimited data plans.

If you're going to switch carriers anyway, what's stopping you from porting your Sprint number to Google Voice? Then you can let the Google Voice app set your GV number (your current Sprint number) as your caller ID when you call out on whichever phone / carrier you're using.

If Google Voice was going away they would not have wasted the time and resources integrating it into the iOS Hangouts app a few weeks ago...hello!

Not actually familiar with Sprint voice, but I route my call calls through my GV account. You can call GV from a phone that's been verfied, enter the destination number, PIN etc and have calls go out. I use a program called Flex Dialer Lite that I've had for years. It has all the keystrokes and pauses programmed in and it intercepts outgoing calls and auto routes through GV. It was actually more or less designed for use with calling cards but it works great for this purpose. The beauty of GV is that if I ever change phone numbers, nobody will know because I'll forward GV to the new phone.

Tri-band on both sprint and tmobile.... hmmmm... stars aligning.

On a serious note, where is the disruptive bombshell? Still to come? Is it the EFT thing? I seem to remember carriers doing that a long time ago, or at the very least giving you credits for switching to their networks...

What ticks me off about this is that tmobile has me stuck in a family plan with the exact same etf's that they think are wrong. And no, I'm not on a simple choice plan, I'm still on their classic plan. Hippocrates.

I would call them....I was on an 'old' plan and my contract was about to expire. They moved me to their Simple Choice plan for no disruption in service...etc

not as of 4 months ago. Also, i checked with a store rep 2 weeks ago, he said i still have the etf if i switch. I know they gave single plans an out, but nothing for family plans (yet at least)

Raise hell. Don't ask them to switch you for free. Tell them!!

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

According to The Verge's coverage of the Q&A after the event, TMO will honor their EFT buy out for TMO customers on legacy plans.

We need a list of how much they are giving for each device.
Either way I break even. the ETF alone covers the price of my phone since I got it for "free" on black friday. Just bought a $50 case for it too.

Lets just hope they have the capacity to keep up with all these new customers. Remember what happened to AT&T when they got the iPhone?

That being said...I'm a happy TMo customer!

This is happening to Verizon now, it was impossible to be a heavy user on their 3G before they had LTE, when their LTE was brand new you could always get 20+MBPS, but now they have so many LTE smartphones the experience can vary greatly depending on time and place. At&t definitely has the most experience here and it shows with PCmag's 2013 speed tests that put them at the top.

Hmm.. I wonder how T Mo's service is in the Bay area.. Meantime, I have to think Big Red, AT&T and Sprint will counter.. I only have about 7 mos left on my ATT contract so I'll definitely be shopping around

Wait so I get to turn in my phone, buy a new one, and you might pay the EFT to switch (depends on the phone)?

Maybe in the long run you save over ATT and Verizon, though I do not think so, but not if you switch from Sprint. Yes, my Sprint prices are comparable to Tmo. I think there is only 5-10$ difference, total.

To top it all off, they get to sell that phone to a refurbish-er and make out on that end as well....

Nope, this is not a world beater...

They pay the etc if your on a family plan and you turn in your phone a get a phone on their network. You get the money for the phone, then they also pay the etf.

Posted from my Nexus 7(2013).

So I read through but I'm slightly confused...does this apply to ONLY people with family plans and multiple lines? Or can a person with a single line like myself take advantage of this offer as well? My Sprint ETF is $100 and I was leaving at the end of the month anyway, but this would just make my switch to T-Mobile even sweeter.

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Slightly confused about the last part. Porting your phone number to T-Mobile and buying a phone makes sense... but you ALSO need to trade in your current carrier's device to qualify? My girlfriend just bought an iPhone 5S on Sprint, and I'm worried her "trade-in" value is going to be severely below what they actually go for 2nd-hand. On the other hand, anything to get out of Sprint. Been using my Nexus 5 on T-Mobile for like 2 months and I LOVE it!

Seems to me that T-Mo has been the only innovative carrier over the last several years....then all other carriers JUMP on the bandwagon and try to offer something similar. The only reason why I'm still with Verizon is that I maintained the Unlimited data plan when they had the glitch in October when buying a subsidized phone.

You better check their story before you switch! They are not cheaper than sprint and their service not good yet as they claiming. To get talk, text, data unlimited it'll cost you $70.0 + tx. Their $30.0 not unlimited, just text and talk unlimited. You better do the math before you go anywhere.

I hope to do this when income tax returns come in. My cancellation is $1000+ for 4 lines with AT&T so I'd have to pay something on it still. Additionally, I'm using a Nexus 5 and I plan on purchasing a new Moto G for my wife off-contract. With T-Mobile offering affordable plans and Google releasing inexpensive off=contract devices, I'll never see a two year agreement again.

The trade-in values are predictably pathetic. Less than 1/2 the value you'd get on Swappa. Example: Verizon Galaxy Note 2 - $137 trade-in value (I can't post a link without this being flagged as spam).

My wife and I pay $138 all taxes included for Verizon with 2GB each with a decent employer discount I get. Comparable plan on t-mobile is $100+taxes ($12?). You could also take the $200x2 every 2 year cost we pay for our phone and divide it by 24 months making the total $155/m.

So if we switched to Tmobile and got a pair of Nexus 5's we'd end up paying:

1) Plan - $112/m for 2 phones with 2.5gb data each
2) Phone Monthly Payment - [two nexus 5s $396x2] - [two gn2 trade-ins $137x2] / 24 monthly payments = $22
Total = $134/m

$21/m to go from the best network to the worst? Not sure...

Also it's pretty obvious t-mobile is trying to lock you in with that monthly device debt you owe them. At least on verizon you can walk away after a month with your new GS4 for $200+$350 ETF. On t-mobile it costs you $624 to walk away.

Like others have said, buy a cheap off contract phone and trade that in and sell your current phones or if they are unlocked, get new sims from T-Mobile.

Doesn't sound like you get the this deal if you don't buy a phone. I want to bring my own device (a Nexus 5 I would purchase from Google). Can I get in on this deal?

No you cant.

"What are your eligibility requirements?

In order to qualify for this ETF offer, you must be switching from a postpaid plan with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon and port your current numbers to T-Mobile. You would need to trade-in a working mobile phone or tablet and purchase a new device with T-Mobile on a qualifying postpaid Simple Choice plan (you would not be able to sign up for a T-Mobile prepaid or Simple Choice Family Plan with no credit check). All lines must be activated in the same T-Mobile market with the same billing address and area code."

Isn't the Nexus 5 sold by T-Mobile the same one you get from Google pretty much? I think it does cost more but maybe it's worth it on payments?

As always it will depend on where you live. T-Mobile used to suck around here when I was on Sprint. The last 2-3 years it went from almost no coverage on T-Mobile to full bars HSPA+ (no LTE yet). Ironically, Sprint's coverage has actually gotten worse here. My advice is to find someone you know with T-Mobile and see what they're getting.

They are only giving me $15 for my Sprint GS2, but at least I won't have to pay my $120 ETF fee. I was already planning to switch to T-mobile at the end of the month, but now this is making the switch even sweeter. So long to Sprint and their Wi-Max!

where can you check how much they're giving you?
Edit: nvm found it. $26 for my sprint G2. Ummm are they on crack? $163 for my wife's GS4. Luckily I still have our old GS2 and EVO3D so I'll trade those in and take the chump change for them and sell My G2 and S4 on craigslist.

Yeah they are kinda ripping people off for newer phones like the GS4. But in my case, I still count it as a win because I'm saving about $120 in ETF fees

I actually have both Sprint and T-Mobile, my Sprint phone is under a family plan of $27 monthly.

In my family circle I will be the only one not upgrading my phone in July, and will allow my contract to end a few months later.

The only thing I'm concerned with is T-Mobile actual coverage, as I travel more than most people. So far as long as I'm in a Metro/Urban area service is great, but I often travel to rural or "just outside" city/county limits. The moment I leave an Interstate or hit just a little too far across the line I drop to 2G on T-mobile. 2G on T-mobile means calls and messages, nothing else.

Coverage on Sprint has been improving everywhere I travel, sometimes I drop to 3G with one bar but I'm still able to do most things I normally do, with patience.

All of those seeking to leave AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint I really advise you to pay attention to your home, work, and travel spots when it comes to real data coverage, check T-Mobile forums for praise or complaints n your areas. All Sprint customers, I highly advise you guys to sit tight, Sprint is actually improving with great costs too.

Some may wonder why I wont be continuing with Sprint: I actually live in a foreign country and my Sprint phone serves no purpose when I leave the country. I always unlock T-mobile phones and use them in other countries.

If your coming from ATT or Verizon it would be worth it. Sprint not really.

Underwhelming to say the least

sent from my DROID Eris, made by Nokia, powered by iOS 7 via BBM

Im in canada so this doesnt apply to me. But both AT&T and T mobile will pay your contract for you if you switch.

If I was a sprint customer I would go to T mobile and get a free phone on contract. Then go over to AT&T and grab another free phone on contract. Use one of them, and sell the other. Or if your sprint phone was good sell both.

Gotta love when companies go at it like this. Bell had this going on a couple years ago paying off telus and rogers contracts. Or It was 300$ credit or something like that if you switch.

Except you're not getting free phones from none of them.... LoL WTF

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They arent making these people sign up on a contract with a subsidized phone? Either free or a hundred $ or so??

Thats how it works in canada. Bell literally advertised "need a new phone but arent up for an upgrade, switch to bell and we'll pay your cancellation fee and get a free phone" A free phone with a new 3 year contract that is.

Everywhere I travel all they have is Edge. All they do is build out their new technologies in the same major cities, while ignoring the ancient network elsewhere. This latest gambit from Mr. Trashmouth smacks of desperation from a company with one foot in the bankruptcy door.

I wouldn't switch if they paid me $10,000. Why? Because until last year I was a customer and got tired of their slow Edge network, not having coverage and having to roam on AT&T.

Ran the numbers and it's not that great a deal. T-Mobile requires you to trade in your phone and buy a new one period for the ETF to be paid. If you use a nexus 5 you are screwed. Doesn't make sense to give them your nexus and buy a new one. The amount they are paying for the phones is ridiculous. I put in a brand new iphone 5s 64gb in the trade in app and they only pay $287 so I ask you what phone are they paying $300 for since that phone is the most expensive phone you can buy. Galaxy S4 32gb they want to pay $164. Whatever. Its actually more cost effective to sell you old phones outright and pay the ETF yourself if you have newer phones. So basically this deal is only good for people with old phones.

You don't have to trade in your current phone. You just have to trade in a phone that is on their list of phones that are acceptable. They have no way of knowing what phone you're using now anyway. You can go to their site and go to their tool that calculates the value of phone trade ins to see which phones are acceptable. I have an iPhone 5S and a 4S and I just bought two cheap AT&T Gophones from eBay for $9 each to trade in. Then I'm going to sell the 2 iPhones on CL for at least $700-800.