T-Mobile is looking to keep its good year rolling with a new set of offers, explicetly designed to steal customers from other carriers. Starting today, any postpaid customer from one of the other big carriers can jump ship to T-Mobile and have their device payments paid off by T-Mobile.
It’s an objectively fantastic deal, but as with any carrier incentive, there’s a bunch of red tape attached. Here’s what you need to know before you leap.
Verizon vs everyone else
The first thing you have to understand is that there’s two separate deals going on here. The first, called GetOutOfTheRed, is for Verizon customers who have an iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus, Google Pixel, or Pixel XL. Anyone who is currently paying off one of those phones to Verizon in monthly instalments can port their number to T-Mobile and get a prepaid Mastercard in the mail 15 days later for all the remaining payments on the phone. Long story short: switch to T-Mobile, and you’ll have your iPhone or Pixel paid off for you. Even if you hate T-Mobile’s network, you can switch back to Verizon once you receive the prepaid card, and you’ve spent one month on T-Mobile in return for a free phone.
There are still a few terms and conditions attached. You have to have had the phone for at least 60 days already, and you have to buy T-Mobile’s $15-per-month insurance initially. You can cancel the insurance plan once your prepaid card has come in the mail. You’re also not eligible if you were previously a T-Mobile customer who took advantage of a similar deal in the past to have an early termination fee paid off.
Other than that, restrictions are virtually non-existent. There’s no limit to the payout, so you can port four lines with iPhone 7s you bought in February, and get every single remaining cent paid off.
Other phones and carriers
For every carrier and device that doesn’t qualify under the plan above, T-Mobile has a different deal, called Carrier Freedom. The biggest difference between the Verizon GetOutOfTheRed deal and Carrier Freedom is that Carrier Freedom requires you to buy a new phone on T-Mobile’s network with a device payment plan.
You still get your old phone paid off, and you still get to keep the phone. Most of the same conditions apply — you need to have had the phone for at least 60 days, you have to port your number, and you have to activate a new T-Mobile One plan. But you also have to buy a new phone on T-Mobile’s network. The good news is that it doesn’t specify which phone.
So, you can still get your $750 iPhone 7 paid off, but you now have to buy some kind of phone on T-Mobile’s network. The most popular option seems to be the Samsung Galaxy J3, which is $150 retail or just $6 per month. If you go from paying $30 a month for an iPhone 7 to paying $6 a month for a Samsung J3 (which you can also just resell on eBay), it’s really not a bad deal.