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AT&T Fighting Back To Reverse Postpaid Phone Losses

AT&T is getting tired of losing postpaid phone subscribers to other carriers and has joined its national rivals in offering consumers a monetary incentive to switch.

The carrier has begun offering up to $650 in Visa gift cards and promotion cards to switch to AT&T. Consumers who switch must get a new smartphone on an AT&T Next installment-payment plan, activate eligible service, port their number, and trade-in their current eligible smartphone. Consumers get an AT&T Visa pre-paid gift card in the amount of the early termination fee (ETF) or device balance owed on the user’s final bill minus the phone’s trade-in value. Users also get an AT&T store credit or an AT&T promotion card in the amount of the value of the traded-in phone.

T-Mobile in 2014 became the first carrier to pay off consumers’ ETFs for switching, and Sprint followed last year with a similar campaign. Sprint currently offers up to $650 to people who switch. In December Verizon launched its own $650 payoff for ETFs.

AT&T hopes its promotion will win back postpaid phone subscribers lost to its rivals in the past year. In its fiscal fourth quarter ending December, AT&T lost 170,000 postpaid phone subscribers following a third-quarter loss of 333,000 postpaid phone subscribers. Total postpaid net adds were up in both quarters, however, because of gains in sales of postpaid tablets and mobile computing devices.