Best T-Mobile ETF promo path?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by dmk1974, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. dmk1974, Mar 9, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014

    dmk1974 macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    As I am still seriously contemplating switching from AT&T to T-Mobile, I'm trying to figure out my best path to do so and not to pay a bunch in the device switch.

    http://www.t-mobile.com/offer/switch-carriers-no-early-termination-fee.html

    I am still under contract for 4 of the 5 lines on my AT&T account (current total ETF for the 4 lines stands at about $700). I have 3 iPhones that are all unlocked as well. 2 lines still have the grandfathered AT&T unlimited plans. Ideally, I'd then buy 2 more older unlocked iPhones on ebay/craigslist for the 2 kids lines.

    From what I read, to get the ETF reimbursement, I must do all of the following:
    1.) Trade in current phones
    2.) Buy a new phone from T-Mobile
    3.) Send T-Mobile a copy of my AT&T bill with the ETF fees and then get a pre-paid MasterCard 8 weeks later

    I am definitely not going to trade in my current 32 GB iPhone 5S to them for $260 and then buy the same one for $750. It's a bit of a pisser that they have this trade-in/buy stipulation for the ETF waiver. Supposedly you can trade in any working phone and not necessarily the one that you will be porting over from.

    SO, I figure that I would:
    1.) Trade in 3 basic phones that I have and even get another $20 GoPhone to trade in if they really really require it.
    2.) Buy 5 of whatever the cheapest phones they are offering. I've even seen those Nokia 521 phones now at Best Buy for $70 (may not be bad as backups).
    3.) Get the lines all set up with our ported over numbers.
    4.) Go back and then switch over all the lines to my existing unlocked iPhones.

    Does that all make sense? Seems like a semi-hassle, but would be the most cost-effective method that I have come up with (so far) to take advantage of getting all of my lines on T-Mobile with all of them as smartphones AND saving about $50/month compared to AT&T.

    Who's got a better plan to share? :) Thanks!
     
  2. phpmaven, Mar 9, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014

    phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    Location:
    San Clemente, CA USA
    #2
    That would work. I did something pretty close, although I traded in a couple of cheap phones and sold the 2 iPhones I had (the other 2 lines were crappy phones). I got 4 new iPhones on their payment plan. You could do the same and sell your old iPhones for more than $2K I would think (I don't know models they all are). Or you could do it your way. I guess it would bug me to buy 5 phones I'm not going to use, although you wouldn't have payments on new phones. You would also have the advantage of being able to walk away at any time since you wouldn't have any phone payments.
     
  3. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #3
    Yeah, I would likely then just sell those 5 phones for a minor loss or keep 1-2 of them just in case. Different sized SIM cards though. Or if I could find an even cheaper phone to buy up front. Best-case would be to convince a T-Mobile rep at the store to let me bypass that hassle and then just let me sign on straight to my own current iPhones and then still get the ETF charges waived. In the end, that's where I'd be anyhow.
     
  4. forcetactic macrumors 6502

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #4
    I think I read somewhere that if you trade in dumbphones, you will only get reimbursed with the dumbphone ETF rate
     
  5. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #5
    Unless something has changed, that's not true. Ask f as the phone you trade in is one their list, you are fine.

    ----------

    There's of much of a chance that will happen. A major part of the whole deal is that you must buy new phones from them.
     
  6. 1080p macrumors 68030

    1080p

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    #6
    I WILL say this. If you are going to T-Mobile and you will be buying your phones outright, instead of financing them... go to the Apple store and buy Verizon models. They are unlocked... the T-Mobile ones at the T-Mobile store are sold locked.

    But even so, the Verizon models are the best version to buy because they will have the highest resale value. They can be used on AT&T, T-Mobile & any other LTE/GSM carrier on those bands including MVNO's like Straight Talk and AIO Wireless. But... you will also be able to sell it to Verizon customers too. Verizon customers only get CDMA access on a Verizon iPhone. CDMA access is blocked on all other carrier models because the MEID (ESN) isn't in Verizon's database.
     
  7. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #7
    If you want to take advantage of the pay your ETF deal from T-Mobile, you must buy your phones from them.
     
  8. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #8
    Too bad, but yeah, sounds like that is going to be the case. So which phone (even if a basic flip phone) is the cheapest to buy from them with this ETF promo? And there isn't a charge to then change the phone in the future (or immediate future) correct?
     
  9. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #9
    The phone has to be listed here:
    http://www.t-mobile.com/DeviceRecovery/cell-phone-trade-in.aspx

    The list changes all the time, but they still show the AT&T ZTE Z221, which is a no contract go-phone you can pick up cheap. Keep in mind that phone can be from any carrier. When I did the deal, the phone had to have an un-cracked screen, but that may have changed. I'm not sure what you mean by your other question.
     
  10. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #10
    that is correct. My GF did the deal and had to use her applecare+ to have the screen repaired before they would accept it.
     
  11. keitarou macrumors 6502

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    Dec 7, 2012
    #11
    I know others have traded in flip phones for this but I believe T-Mobile changed their fine print to say that only smart phone traded in will qualify for up to $350 ETF reimbursement. If flip phone is traded in, up to $175 will be reimbursed.
     
  12. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #12
    All of the phones on their list ARE smartphones. You can't trade in a "flip-phone".
     
  13. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

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    #13
  14. forcetactic macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Just fyi

    When porting their number they can trade-in their working phones and tablets at any participating T-Mobile location and receive a credit up to $300 per device, which can be applied towards a new device purchase.
    Then, when they get their final bill listing their ETF amounts, they simply send it to T-Mobile or submit it online at switch2tmobile.com, and within 8 weeks they receive a prepaid MasterCard covering their ETF amount up to $350 per line. The amount paid will not be more than the ETF amount the customers’ previous carriers charge for the type of device traded-in.
     
  15. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #15
  16. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #16
    Interesting. That's definitely new, but I don't think it really means much. The way this whole thing works is that you go into the store and do all of the trade in stuff and get your new devices. Then later on once you get your final bill from your old carrier, you submit it online and they reimburse you based on what's on your bill. I doubt sincerely that the reps in the store are recording what phone you trade in somewhere where the people that handle the ETF reimbursements could see it. My experience with T-Mobile is that none of their computer systems talk to each other and one rep has no idea what the others are doing. Also, your bill doesn't show what kind of device you had anyway, at least not with AT&T.
     
  17. crzdcolombian macrumors 6502a

    crzdcolombian

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    Nov 16, 2010
    #17
    I did it. Gave them 2 **** samsung flights. They gave me 5 bucks each for them in trade in credit and paid off the 100 dollars each for the contracts. I kept my iPhone 5s because they only offered me 250+ 256 of cancelation fee. It was going to cost me 400 dollars to replace the iPhone. I ended up just paying the 250 to At&T. Tmobile gave me a free month of service and I bought a used iPhone 5c for 300 bucks off craigslist, and a 50 buck windows phone from the windows store
     
  18. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #18
    One of the lines on my accout (MIL line) is a Samsung Flight II. Sounds like even if the phone is not on the list and worth zero, it still would make that trade-in eligible for the ETF promo.

    T-Mobile did confirm that for non-smartpones, the max trade-in value is $200 and for smartphones it's $350.

    Since I have 3 lines with $155 ETF each and 1 line at $275, I was even thinking of getting an AT&T Avail 2 at Target for $50 to serve as the trade-in on the line with $275 remaining (would save me $25 compared to trading a basic phone). Then trade worthless basic phones for the other 3 lines.
     
  19. crzdcolombian macrumors 6502a

    crzdcolombian

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    Nov 16, 2010
    #19
    You have to trade in a phone. IT doesn't matter what phone it is. I don't think you can switch to another phone then make the transfer. I asked them If I could just buy a 1 touch and trade that in. They said no. Had to give them the 3 phones I had linked to AT&T.

    T Mobile isn't as good as AT&T but its also not that bad either. More places I get crummy connection but what can you do. It is 35 bucks cheaper a month then what I was paying and now have 3 smart phones.
     
  20. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #20
    Well, I actually just got back from my local T-Mobile store a few hours ago. I made the switch from AT&T! I think I went about the cheapest ETF promo path that could be done for my situation. Let me know if you guys can do better :)

    Since I had 5 lines (and only my MIL line not under contract), I switched over the 4 from my household today (all 4 under contract for a total of $740.00 in ETF fees...$275 for one and $155 for each of the other three).
    Me: iPhone 5s (unlocked)
    Wife: iPhone 5 (unlocked)
    Son: AT&T 2800U basic phone
    Daughter: Pantech Reveal basic phone

    I wasn't going to trade in the iPhones since I planned to use them on T-Mobile. So I had to get the cheapest phones I could find at Target, Walmart or Best Buy to buy for the trade in with a minor hit.

    1. Bought and opened a GoPhone Avail 2 and GoPhone 510A. Removed SIMs. Turned on and set up.
    2. Went to T-Mobile store and brought with me the following phones:
      iPhone 5s
      iPhone 5
      AT&T Avail 2 (smartphone)
      Pantech Reveal
      AT&T U2800A
    3. Reviewed my plan T-Mobile sales person
    4. Traded in the 4 phones that are not iPhones. Ensured the AT&T Avail 2 is credited as trade-in to wife's number since it’s a smart phone and that line has the $275 ETF with AT&T. May not matter, but wanted to make sure.
    5. Received $5 trade credit for each basic phone and $40 for the Avail 2 smartphone ($55 total)
    6. Purchased 4 Samsung t139 flip phones for $30 each.
    7. Purchased 4 SIM starter kits for $10 each.
    8. Informed T-Mobile rep about my corporate discount. Didn't have benefit for sign-up, but added to the account so it will show monthly or when upgrading.
    9. Transferred the 4 lines from AT&T. Had T-Mobile rep install nano SIMs for my and wife's iPhones (no additional cost)
    10. Got unlimited data plan on my iPhone, 2.5 GB on wife's, and 500 MB on other 2 kid flip phones.
    11. Net up-front cost after buying GoPhones and trade-ins was $187.37 after tax (not bad compared to eating an entire $740 ETF!). 2 flip phones will sit in the drawer as spares plus 1 flip phone for each kid.
    12. Initial monthly bill will be based off $130 (pre-corporate discount and taxes).

      Next steps:
    13. In the next couple days, I'll take my MIL a T-Mobile store to look at phones. Or set her up with a used iPhone. She'll have the 500 MB line which will be fine for her in any case.
    14. Add MIL to plan and new monthly bill should be based off $140.
    15. In a few weeks, get final AT&T bill with ETF charges (should be $740.00)
    16. Submit bill with ETF to T-Mobile for MasterCard reimbursement
    17. THE END!

    I just hope the T-Mobile service is almost as good as the AT&T service for where we live and frequently are. So far signal strength in the house and on the drive home was very good.
     
  21. keitarou macrumors 6502

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    Dec 7, 2012
    #21
    Good luck to you and welcome to the T-Mobile family.

    Just to let you know, there is taxes and surcharges from AT&T on the ETF's. So you should be seeing your final AT&T bill be about 100-200 higher. I noticed 21% of taxes and surcharges when my gf's family moved and they had total ETF of $580. Those fee's don't get reimbursed by T-Mobile.
     
  22. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #22
    Well that sucks, really? How can they apply taxes and fees on another fee? I definitely understand those charges for the pro-rated month and so on, which is fair. But wasn't planning on getting hit with anything additional to the actual ETF. I guess I'll find out in about 3 weeks or so when I get my next AT&T monthly bill.
     
  23. keitarou macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    #23
    I called and spoke to them about that too. I said, I can understand the taxes since I pay taxes on the device but surcharges and other fees? All they said to that was that it's in the contract that we signed and can't be waived. ETF is part of service and not device since it was a subsidy. I told them even if T-Mobile has bad service, I will never use them again.
     
  24. crzdcolombian macrumors 6502a

    crzdcolombian

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    Nov 16, 2010
    #24
    IF you move and your service sucks you don't have to pay ETF. When I moved from CT to Boston I switched from Verizon to AT&T. Verizon fought with me but where I was working had a 3 block dead zone. Since I was working at CPA firm and was working 9-10 hour days. I got out of my contract for free. I told them they could take their phones back if they wanted and they let me keep them. Before switching they offered to sell me a signal strengthener for like 300 bucks or something crazy like that. I said no when they finally agreed to wave the fee they offered to give me 2 months free and a free signal strengthener. I did not agree and got out for the prorated fee of the month of service I was on.

    There are ways out of your contract if they don't give you the service they promise. Its one of the things that freaked me out about Tmobile when they asked me where I go to check if I will have service. So far so good. Some times my calls drop but I had the same problems with At&t.
     
  25. mrschanah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2012
    #25
    I have a question and it may have be a stupid one. I have a Verizon iPhone 5 on a two year contract. I would like to purchase an AT&T sim. If I do the purchase, who would I pay my bill to Verizon or AT&T?
     

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