2014 CES Las Vegas - T-Mobile's entertaining and often foul-mouthed CEO John Legere poked another finger in the eye of its cellular carrier rivals by announcing it will pay consumers' early termination fee (ETF) for up to $350 per line and an instant credit of up to $300 per trade-in device for up to five lines.
"This is not a promotion," Legere insisted, after reveling in his physical ejection from the AT&T event the night before. "This is forever. This is the end of contracts."
Customers merely need to bring in their old phones to a T-Mobile store, where they'll receive an instant credit to buy a new device with no money down under its Simple Choice plans. Customers then send or upload T-Mobile a copy of their ETF bill from their former carrier, and T-Mobile will reimburse the total ETF cost.
The company even will help you draft a fun "break-up letter" to a former carrier in MadLibs style at t-mobile.com/breakup.
Legere also announced that T-Mobile now has the fastest and most consistently fast 4G LTE network in the nation, and plans to send a cease and desist letter to AT&T to remove its kid-centric "faster is better" ads. Legere threatened to show up with a film crew when he delivers the letter.
To back up its claims, Legere and T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray cited crowd-sourced data from actual users testing network speeds via Speedtest.net. The pair noted other carriers use consultants to arrive at their relative speed figures.
In December 2013, T-Mobile users reported 4G LTE network speeds of 17.8 Mbps, compared to 14.7 Mbps for AT&T, 14.3 Mbps for Verizon and 7.9 Mbps for Sprint. Ray also cited data figures captured the day before its event, January 7: 16.8 Mbps for T-Mobile, Verizon was at 15.1 Mbps, AT&T at 13.7 and Sprint at 7.6 Mbps.
The EFT reimbursement is the fourth step in the company's on-going "un-carrier" campaign, which started in March with its Simple Choice plans, in July with its Jump device upgrade plan, and in October with its unlimited international roaming and offering free data for tablet buyers.
"We are trying to fundamentally change this industry," Legere said. "We are either going to take over this whole industry, or these bastards are going to change and we'll still be highly successful and I won't care. I'll love to see these peckers cry."
As proof of the success of its un-carrier changes, Legere announced preliminary fourth-quarter results: 1.645 million subscription adds in the fourth quarter 2013, including 869,000 postpaid net adds. For the year, the company added 4.4 million new net customers, making it the fastest growing wireless company in U.S.
Legere also boasted the company now have 273 metro areas with 4G LTE, and have already started implementation of 20 x 20 wideband LTE, which promises speeds faster than home-based broadband. The first wideband LTE network already has launched in Dallas. "All disruption in the world doesn't mean shit without a network to back it up," Legere added.