Switching to T-Mobile
There are many good reasons to consider switching to T-Mobile for your wireless service. The self-proclaimed "uncarrier" offers some of the best no contract cell phone plans, and with the release of the T-Mobile One package, they now have unlimited data plans as well. You may, however, want a little more than just the cheapest cell phone plans in order to entice you to switch to T-Mobile.
Fortunately, like most of the large cell phone companies, T-Mobile is offering up to $650 or more to cover the costs you may incur by leaving your current carrier. There are criteria that must be met in order to qualify for this offer, which I'll outline in this guide. I'll also tell you how to switch to T-Mobile from the other major providers and whether you can bring your own device.
Promotion to Switch to T-Mobile
The process of switching to T-Mobile's cell phone plans is basically the same no matter which carrier you're coming from. Whether you can take advantage of the T-Mobile switch promotion will depend on several factors, which I've detailed for you below.
T-Mobile's contract buyout deal is pretty standard for the most part:
- You must be switching to T-Mobile from a postpaid plan with a domestic carrier.
- You must trade in your device and purchase a new phone from T-Mobile.
- You must be porting in your old phone number.
- You must pay off your balance prior to claiming your reimbursement, which is rewarded in the form of a prepaid MasterCard.
- You must submit the final bill from your old carrier to T-Mobile.
Once you've met all requirements, you can expect reimbursement for up to $650 of your ETF (early termination fee).
The process of getting reimbursed for any money you owe on your device is the same as above, except you will receive the amount you owe your old carrier for your phone payments. The great thing about the T-Mobile switch promotion for device payoff is that, according to the NARB (National Advertising Review Board):
T-Mobile does not impose any limits on the amount that it will reimburse for what is owed to a previous carrier for the consumer's phone.
This means you may be able to receive more than $650 depending upon how much you owe for your phone. Again, however, you must trade your device in. You will get your reimbursement in the form of a combination of a bill credit for your trade-in amount and a prepaid MasterCard for the balance of your amount owed.
In other words, say you owe $600 to your old carrier for your phone. If T-Mobile gives you $100 for it, you'll get a $100 bill credit and a $500 prepaid debit card.
Switching from Verizon to T-Mobile
In order to switch to T-Mobile from Verizon, you'll just need to follow a few simple steps.
How to Switch from Verizon to T-Mobile
- Choose a new phone or bring your own. If you want the ETF or device credit, you'll have to buy a new phone from T-Mobile. If not, you may be able to bring your LTE device or newer iPhone.
- Pick a data plan. T-Mobile has a selection of the best cell phone plans for a variety of needs and budgets.
- Request a number transfer. Many people want to keep the same phone number when switching to T-Mobile. You can either call 611 or visit a T-Mobile store to make the change.
Verizon devices are not carrier-locked. This means that if you do bring your own device, you shouldn't have to deal with asking Verizon to unlock it for use with your new carrier.
Switching from Sprint to T-Mobile
Making the switch to T-Mobile from Sprint is simple if you're purchasing a new phone. You just want to make sure that you follow the steps at the beginning of this guide in order to qualify for the deals for switching to T-Mobile.
If you want to bring your own phone from Sprint, you may or may not be able to do so. Spring operates on the CDMA network, while T-Mobile phones are GSM. There is some crossover, however. If you have one of the following types of devices you may be able to hang onto your current phone:
- Some LTE devices
- "Global" phones, which are CDMA phones designed so that you can use them in other countries
- Some newer iPhone models
Check with T-Mobile to see if they can accept your device for use on their network.
Switching from AT&T to T-Mobile
If you're shopping for the best bring your own phone plans, it doesn't get much easier than the switch to T-Mobile from AT&T. Both carriers operate on GSM (in fact AT&T owns T-Mobile), which means both carriers' devices are typically compatible with the other.
How to Switch from AT&T to T-Mobile
The steps for switching from AT&T to T-Mobile are the same as - if not simpler than - changing from any other carrier.
- If you're purchasing a device from T-Mobile you'll have to pay off anything you owe to AT&T before you can get reimbursement through the deals for switching to T-Mobile.
- AT&T devices are typically carrier-locked, which means you'll need to submit a request for the carrier to unlock your phone if you plan to bring it with you.
- If you're keeping your own device you can buy and activate a T-Mobile SIM card through the website, over the phone, or in a retail location.
- You'll also need to compare cell phone plans available from T-Mobile to see which one fits your usage needs and budget.
Fortunately most AT&T phones will work on the T-Mobile network, however be aware that bringing your own phone means giving up the switch to T-Mobile promotion for ETF or device reimbursement.
Questions to Ask Before Switching to T-Mobile
Below I've provided you with a quick summary of the most common questions you may have about switching to T-Mobile:
How Do You Activate a T-Mobile SIM Card?
Your new T-Mobile device should arrive with the SIM card already activated. If you're going to bring your current phone with you, call or visit the website or a retail location to have your card activated.
Can You Take Your Existing Phone to T-Mobile?
If you're with AT&T, you will most likely be able to use your existing phone. If you're with Verizon or Sprint, you may be able to, however you'll need to check with T-Mobile to see if it's compatible.
Will T-Mobile Buy Out My Contract?
Yes, at the time of this writing T-Mobile offers a generous reimbursement program to cover the cost of your early termination fee.
Can I Transfer My Phone Number to T-Mobile?
As long as T-Mobile has a transfer agreement with your old provider you will be able to keep your phone number. If you're buying a new device you will be able to check your number's eligibility during checkout.
Does T-Mobile Have Coverage in My Area?
T-Mobile provides service to 96% of the United States, so it's very likely that you will have coverage. Before switching to T-Mobile, however, you can check their coverage area.
How Do You Port a Phone Number?
Like most carriers, T-Mobile will take care of porting your phone number over. Do not cancel your old account until this transfer takes place or you will risk losing the option of keeping the number.