T-Mobile to Pick Up 'Evil' Family Fees

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

LAS VEGAS -- CES 2014 -- T-Mobile USA's latest bid to tempt customers from its rivals is to pay the early termination fees on family plans and offer trade-in cash for eligible devices.

CEO John Legere, who wasted no time here in describing the way family plans are currently operated in the industry as "evil," said T-Mobile will offer families up to $350 to cover early termination fees on up to five lines from another carrier and up to $300 trade-in value on working devices.

(Note: A friend used an estimate tool to see how much they would get in trade-in for a couple of older Android devices on Verizon, and found they would get only a few dollars, so consumers should check out such details first.)

Family Ties
The backdrop is always pinker at a T-Mobile event.
The backdrop is always pinker at a T-Mobile event.

T-Mobile's move comes only days after Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) announced its "Framily" plans, where members don't have to share data (or anything else). (See Sprint Launches No-Sharing 'Framily' Plans.)

And, of course, it's less than a week since AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) made a pre-emptive strike on T-Mobile's subscriber base with its offer of cash for any of Legere's customers who want to switch. (See AT&T Lures T-Mobile Subs With $450 Promise.)

Legere claimed that T-Mobile US Inc. 's "Uncarrier" strategy to date is already paying big dividends. He said the operator added 1.6 million subscribers net in the fourth quarter of 2013, making it the "biggest quarter for 8 years" for the operator. Overall, it added 4.4 million subscribers in 2014. (See T-Mobile Talks Up a Banner Year in LTE.)

Rising Subs
Legere trumpets the success of the 'Uncarrier' strategy.
Legere trumpets the success of the 'Uncarrier" strategy.

He brushed off questions about Wall Street fears that T-Mobile might be instigating a price war amongst mobile carriers in the US. "A price war? No... But we're going to shake them up... A healthy profit [and a] growth business is clearly our objective."

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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