I am sure you have seen or heard the commercials about T-Mobile offering to pay your current carrier’s early termination fees so you can switch to their network.
It really sounds like a phenomenal deal. Before we assume it is, let’s go over the fine print.
1. First, you must be one of the following carriers in order to switch to T-Mobile: AT&T, Verizon or Sprint and you have to be on a postpaid plan that has an early termination fee.
2. You will have to have good credit because they will run a credit check in order for you to qualify for T-Mobile's postpaid Simple Choice plan.
3. You have to trade in a phone or tablet.
Depending on what type of device you trade in, you may get credit to use towards purchasing a new phone from T-Mobile. So for example, let’s say you hand them your iPhone 5 white 16 GB. On their website you can figure out how much credit you will get towards a purchase of one of their phones, for this phone, it's $167.
4. You must have your existing number ported into their system.
5. Lastly, you have to purchase one of T-Mobile's phones. If you want something comparable to the iPhone 5 mentioned above, it would be an iPhone 5s 16 GB and that phone would cost you $600. T- Mobile will let you pay that over a 24-month period which comes out to an additional $25 a month or less depending on how much credit you got for your old phone. If you leave T-Mobile before the phone is paid for, you will have to pay the remaining balance before you can leave.
Once you have all of this done, then you will need to call your current carrier and cancel and pay the early termination fee. Once you do that, you have 60 days to up load the final bill onto T-Mobile's website. It will then take 4 to 8 weeks for them to send you the reimbursement. You don’t get the money back in a check, instead they send you a pre-paid MasterCard with the amount you paid your carrier.
Now you have the fine print. Here are my thoughts; you can definitely save on their monthly plans for sure. Their most popular plan is $50 a month and that includes unlimited talk, text and data.
If I read the fine print and really look at the math, I know if I switched, I would be saving myself $10 a month.
Now let’s factor in the new phone you had to buy from T-Mobile. If you have the cash, you can buy it out right. I currently have an iPhone 5 16GB so I would get $167 credit and pay the remaining balance of $433. Or, I could break it down into 24 months of payments, which would add an additional $18.42 to my $50 a month plan, making my new monthly plan $68.42. So I am not locked into a contract, but if I can’t afford to pay my new phone up front and instead have to break it into payments of 24 months, isn’t that similar to a contract?
Also I am buying another phone that is not much newer than what I already have and when my contract is up with my current carrier, I will own my iPhone out right.
By no means am I stating that you should not switch. All I am pointing out is read all of the fine print and make a more educated decision based on the facts.
I have included all of the links to help you read the fine print and figure out a plan that will work for you.
Check this link to find out what your trade-in credit would be.