T-Mobile Broadening Its Program to Pay Switchers
T-Mobile plans to expand a recently introduced program that pays new customers up to $350 for breaking their contract with a rival carrier.
After announcing it last week for customers of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, the No. 4 U.S. carrier tells Re/code it will extend the offer to customers of U.S. Cellular and more than a dozen other small carriers that also require customers to sign long-term contracts. T-Mobile will also expand the number of handsets that customers can trade in and will even take damaged phones, though they may qualify for less credit.
“This is not just a promotion,” T-Mobile marketing chief Mike Sievert told Re/code on Thursday. “What we are trying to do is bring an end to unfair one-way onerous contracts in this country.”
Sievert said that more than 80,000 “breakup letters” have been posted on various social media sites by customers who have left rivals for T-Mobile since the promotion began. He declined to give specific numbers on how many customers T-Mobile has signed up through the offer, but said that the number of customers joining T-Mobile has increased since the deal was announced last week.
He did say that the start to the year “puts us in a really good place to profitably grow this company and serve millions more customers.”
T-Mobile has been on an aggressive push to woo unhappy customers away from other carriers. Its most recent effort, announced last week, offers up to $350 to those willing to break their contract with a rival and move to T-Mobile.
T-Mobile has been encouraging switchers to post their stories on social media, offering model breakup letters on its website, though Sievert says plenty of customers have gotten creative and posted their own dismissal missives. Stores have also created signs for customers to hold up when they switch, and CEO John Legere has been active on Twitter reposting many of the letters. “Obviously people are having a ball with it,” he said.
The battle has been particularly fierce with AT&T, which launched a pre-emptive strike earlier this year, aimed specifically at T-Mobile customers, offering switchers up to $450 in credits.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact we have the nation’s fastest and most reliable network,” AT&T mobile unit head Ralph De La Vega said in an interview at CES last week. “They can say whatever they want to say, but they don’t have it.”
Legere, meanwhile, tried to crash AT&T’s CES party, insisting he just wanted to see the Seattle-area music act Macklemore, who was performing. Legere will now get his chance as T-Mobile is sponsoring a Macklemore concert in L.A. next week.