AT&T Hits Back at T-Mobile with Up to $450 in Credits for Switchers

Over the past year, att_t-mobile_logosT-Mobile US has been shaking up the U.S. carrier market with its "Un-carrier" plans, the addition of the iPhone to its device lineup, and a frequent device upgrade program, enticing several other major carriers to make changes to their own services to align with T-Mobile's offerings.

Going beyond recent moves to uncouple device and service costs as T-Mobile has done, AT&T today announced that it is offering up to $450 in credits for customers switching to the carrier from T-Mobile. The offer consists of two parts: up to $250 for trading in their current smartphone as part of the carrier's usual trade-in plan and an additional $200 for transferring their wireless service to AT&T.

Beginning Jan. 3, under the limited-time offer, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T can trade-in their current smartphone for a promotion card of up to $250, which can be used toward AT&T products and services. Trade-in values will vary based on make, model and age of the smartphone, but many of the latest and most popular smartphones will qualify for a value of $250. T-Mobile customers can receive an additional $200 credit per line when they transfer their wireless service to AT&T and choose an AT&T NextSM plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.

Last month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson noted that the long-standing U.S. wireless business model of carriers providing device subsidies in exchange for service contracts is no longer economically feasible. By uncoupling device costs from service, carriers believe they can offer customers more flexibility when it comes to deciding about device upgrades while still allowing customers to spread out their significant hardware costs through payment plans.

Following last year's series of Un-carrier announcements from T-Mobile, the company is set to announce the next stage of its program next week at CES. Details have yet to surface, but hints and rumors have suggested that the carrier may be making some changes to encourage family plan users to switch carriers, perhaps through subsidizing early termination fees imposed by other carriers.

The future of T-Mobile does, however, remain up in the air, as parent company Deutsche Telekom has been looking to exit the U.S. market. Following a failed attempt by AT&T to acquire T-Mobile US in 2011, Sprint has been reported to be mulling its own offer for T-Mobile that could allow the combined carrier to rival the much larger Verizon and AT&T.

Update: In an email to Re/code, T-Mobile CEO John Legere calls AT&T's new offer a "desperate move".

“This is a desperate move by AT&T on the heels of what must have been a terrible Q4 and holiday for them,” Legere said in an e-mail to Re/code. “Consumers won’t be fooled… nothing has changed, customers will still feel the same old pain that AT&T is famous for. Just wait until CES to hear what pain points we are eliminating next. The competition is going to be toast!” [...]

“We used AT&T’s cash to build a far superior network and added ‘un-carrier’ moves to take tons of their customers – and now they want to bribe them back,” Legere said. “I’m flattered that we have made them so uncomfortable!”

Update 2: T-Mobile has published a similar version of Legere's statement.

Top Rated Comments

Codyak Avatar
95 months ago
Go go T-Mobile, keep shaking things up. :D
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DipDog3 Avatar
95 months ago
As a long term AT&T customer, I would have switched to T-Mobile a long time ago if I could get decent coverage.

The $450 credit for customers is a very bad deal. You have to hand in your old smartphone for only $250 & buy another from AT&T at full price using their Next program. It would be cheaper if you just kept your old smartphone. AT&T will always find a way to screw you over.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moshe1010 Avatar
95 months ago
New customers have to sign for mobile share plan at AT&T (this is the only option AT&T offers for new contracts).
2GB Data + Unlimited talk and text = $95 before taxes. Compare it to $50 from T-Mobile. That's $45X24 months (contract) = $1080 - $450 credit = $630 or $315 loss per year for this move (pre tax).

Every additional smartphone adds $40 to the plan and shares this 2GB, unlike T-Mobile where you get additional line with 2GB data for $40 (goes down by $10 for each additional line).
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghettochris Avatar
95 months ago
FU att, how about a good deal for your current subscribers? line better pricing for out of contract plans, rollover data, etc.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Windlasher Avatar
95 months ago
Fail...

Seems like too little too late... I guess no one is falling for the family shared plan. It actually would have raised our rates and given us less data.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mpantone Avatar
95 months ago
T-Mobile plans seem great, but I think people are in for a rude awakening when they start upgrading their phones all the time and end up being broke.
Nah, we're good.

Some of us can actually do math, figure out TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) during the research stage.

:D
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
parallels windows 10 arm mac

Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared ...
iphone 13 pro render rear

iPhone 13 Pro Rumored to Be Thicker and Feature Larger Rear Camera System

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Tech blog 91Mobiles has obtained 3D renders of what it claims will be the iPhone 13 Pro, revealing a largely familiar design with a few notable changes, including a smaller notch and a significantly larger rear camera system. Following renders of the standard iPhone 13 model from MySmartPrice yesterday, which showed a new diagonal rear camera layout, these renders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...