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AT&T lures T-Mobile customers with $450 trade-in offer

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-06-01

    eff AT&T. This is really not a great incentive if they don't pay the subsidy they ordinarily otherwise would.

    A 16GB iPhone 5S is $649... but 16gb is not much for most people, you will only be able to load lots of apps and no music nor videos, or some apps and some music and maybe a couple videos. 32GB is really the minimum for having a useful smartphone.

    A 64gb 5s will be $849 plus sales tax plus warranty. (I only trust AppleCare+ warranty anyway). So it's more like $1000 when all is said and done, and let's say they give you the max $250 credit for your existing phone, so $1000 - $450 = $550.

    If you are not taking advantage of this offer, then you can get a subsidized 5s for $399 plus tax and warranty... or around $550. That's without the $200 credit and with no trade-in.

    Pardon me, where's the deal here?

  1. davoud

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-14-05

    "...participants are forced to forgo subsidized pricing for new devices." Nobody is forced to do anything. This is a sales gimmick. People will examine it, decide if it makes operational and financial sense, and either accept the deal or reject it. What's wrong with that? (Ignoring the fact that mobile phone and data service ought to cost about $5 per month and $50 would be a fair price for an iPhone.)

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