T-Mobile is preparing for a new Early Termination Fee policy under its new Uncarrier 4.0, which has been codenamed “Houdini” and a rumor. T-Mobile plans to make a formal announcement on January 9 at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Invitations sent to media members on Friday failed to outline exactly what the fee would be, but the press conference is expected to address the policy as well as the rumors.
It seems Uncarrier 4.0 will consist of an Early Termination Fee (ETF) promotion in which the wireless carrier will essentially pay off your ETF with your current carrier if you switch to T-Mobile.
Customers will be eligible for up to $350 in total credit when switching. They will earn instant credit by trading in their existing handset and will be credited the ETF fee when they submit the final bill to T-Mobile. As such, new customers must trade in their old device and purchase a new phone through T-Mobile to qualify.
We are told the focus here is on families switching up to five lines regardless of contract end dates although I see no indication where it wouldn’t also work for individual lines. According to documentation seen by the publication, the program will launch on January 15.
We’ve seen other carriers offer similar limited-time promotions in the past but nothing that is permanent. If true, I imagine such a promotion could once again shake up the industry and more than likely force other carriers to follow suit but at this time, keep in mind that it is little more than a rumor.
T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere tweeted earlier this week that its Uncarrier 4 event will “eliminate another customer pain point.” Making the early termination fees that often tether subscribers to their carrier disappear would absolutely draw more customers to T-Mobile.
While ETFs have certainly become a costly thorn in the side of unhappy customers, we should keep this report firmly in the rumor column. Besides, if Sprint ultimately bids for T-Mobile, as another huge rumor suggests, who knows what would happen to T-Mobile’s boldly competitive strides.