T-Mobile invitationMartyn Williams

T-Mobile teases CES plans, might pay you to switch

T-Mobile is talking a big game ahead of the International CES 2014 trade show next month.

The carrier has sent invites for a press event, to be held on January 8. “This one you aren’t gonna believe,” the invite says, according to All Things D. The invite also has a large "4.0" on it. T-Mobile has been using such numbers to refer to successive iterations of its business strategy, dubbed "un-carrier" by T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

That’s all T-Mobile is saying for now, but citing an anonymous tipster, TmoNews claims that T-Mobile could start paying early-termination fees for people who switch from other carriers. T-Mobile will reportedly focus on getting entire families to switch, paying up to $350 in credit regardless of their contract’s end dates.

Keep in mind that the TmoNews report is based on a single unnamed tipster who offered no way to verify the leaked information.

Still, paying early-termination fees would be a logical way for T-Mobile to cap off its “uncarrier” makeover. In March, T-Mobile eliminated smartphone subsidies in favor of plans that become cheaper once your phone is fully paid off. The carrier then added free international texting and data to its plans, and began giving away 200MB of data per month for tablet users.

T-Mobile gained postpaid subscribers last quarter, but CEO John Legere said in an earnings call that the company must do more to get entire families to switch from AT&T and Verizon. “At some point, the fantastic question will be how are they going to keep their family plans together?” he said.

Paying early-termination fees wouldn’t be unprecedented. In 2011, Sprint offered up to $125 to switch from another carrier, and in January, Ting promised to pay up to $350 per line for switchers. But those were just temporary promotions. A standing offer to help entire families switch would be a significant move—one that’s actually not so hard to believe after all.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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