updated 09:52 am EST, Fri January 3, 2014
Participants must pay full price for new phone
AT&T has launched a new promotion that promises up to $450 per line for existing T-Mobile customers. Subscribers willing to jump ship are automatically qualified for $200 credit when they transfer their service to AT&T, along with a trade-in credit of up to $250 for eligible smartphones, however participants are forced to forgo subsidized pricing for new devices.
The company cautions that trade-in value varies based on make, model and age of the smartphone, suggesting the $250 credit will be limited to newer iPhones and high-end Android devices.
Aside from the trade-in value, the $200 transfer credit can only be applied if the customer signs up for an NextSM plan, which splits the new smartphone cost into monthly installments, or if the customer pays full retail price or activates a device they already own.
If a customer is eyeing certain high-end devices, elimination of the smartphone subsidy has a significant impact on the promotion's overall value. An iPhone 5s carries a retail price of $650, for example, representing a $450 premium over the $200 up-front price paid by new customers in general. In contrast, the NextSM plan would also require the customer to pay $650 for the device over the course of 20 months, but with a savings of $15/month ($300 total over 20 months) compared to the subsidized plan.
AT&T has yet to announce an end date for the offer, which begins today.