T-Mobile has its sights set on Verizon Wireless customers.
The company said Wednesday it will cover the payments left on your Apple iPhone or Googleif you bring it over from Verizon. Since they work equally well on both networks, the hope is that customers will just keep their phones when using T-Mobile service. The offer is a limited promotion that starts on May 31.
It's the latest push by T-Mobile to extend its lead over rivals by getting you to make the jump. The competition has heated up with every carrier offering an unlimited plan, but T-Mobile has continually shaken things up with new offers. The carrier teased that this was the first of three announcements as it rolls into summer.
You still have to pay off the balance of what you owe on the phone by yourself, but because of a quirk in billing schedules, the deadline to pay may come after you switch to T-Mobile and get your money. T-Mobile will send you a MasterCard digital prepaid card with the amount after 15 days on its service. If you have an early termination fee, T-Mobile said it will cover that as well.
To ward off scammers, T-Mobile will only accept Verizon customers who have an established account for at least 60 days.
Families of up to five will be able to take advantage of this deal.
"We want all phones on all carriers to have complete freedom," said Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert. "We think it's the start of a trend."
The offer only works with iPhones and Pixels. Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said he is working with other manufacturers to ensure their phones are easily switchable, "but we're not there yet."
AT&T and Sprint customers aren't completely left out. T-Mobile will likewise cover the cost of your phone if you switch, but you'll have to buy a new device on T-Mobile. Sievert said that it takes a longer time to port a phone from those two carriers over to T-Mobile, so there isn't an instant switch like with Verizon devices. Those customers will be able to sell that phone or use it for another account once it's paid off. T-Mobile had previously required that customers trade in that device.