sprintmotogMichael Homnick

Join the Framily: Sprint offers up to $650 to buy out rival contracts, but not for long

Sprint is temporarily offering up to $650 to switch from another carrier and sign up for a Sprint “Framily” plan.

Customers who switch will get a Visa prepaid card equal to the cost of their existing carrier's early termination fee, up to $350. Customers can then get up to $300 in additional credit by trading in their old phones.

Sprint's Framily plans allow up to 10 people to be on a single plan, with the option to have separate bills. The base price for one person is $55 per month with 1 GB of data, unlimited talk and unlimited text, but for each person added to the plan, the monthly price drops by $5, down to $25 per month for seven or more people. (Individual users can also get 3 GB of data for an extra $10 per month, or unlimited data for an extra $20 per month.)

The offer is available starting today, but will only last until May 8. It's similar to a promotion that AT&T offered in January, and discontinued after roughly one month. Both carriers are likely responding to T-Mobile, which has offered up to $650 to switch carriers since January. Unlike the payouts from Sprint and AT&T, however, T-Mobile's is not a limited-time offer.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded to Sprint's offer by chiding the carrier on Twitter, claiming that it had “the highest ETFs” in the business. Verizon and Sprint both charge up to $350 for early termination, while AT&T charges up to $325. T-Mobile's contract-free smartphone plans don't have early termination fees, but subscribers must pay the full cost of the phone, whether it's in monthly installments or all up-front. Leaving T-Mobile shortly after buying a new phone can be very expensive.

The bigger risk with Sprint's Framily plans is that it'd be even harder to leave if you had six other friends counting on you for a cheaper bill. So if you take Sprint up on its contract buyout offer, make sure you've got a loyal crew.

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