A Bear's Face on Mars Blake Lively's New Role Recognizing a Stroke Data Privacy Day Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe Peacock Discount Dead Space Remake Mental Health Exercises
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Sprint guarantees $200 trade-in credit to T-Mobile customers

The carrier will also offer up to $350 per line to T-Mo subscribers to cover costs related to switching networks.

Sprint is trying to get more T-Mobile users to connect to its own network. Sprint

Sprint has fired a shot over competitor T-Mobile's bow.

Between now and April 9, T-Mobile subscribers can walk into a Sprint store and immediately receive at least $200 in credit for any working smartphone if they switch to Sprint's network, the company announced Friday. Sprint's deal can also be combined with a contract-buyout offer in which Sprint gives T-Mobile customers up to $350 per line to cover costs associated with switching carriers.

Sprint's offer shows that everything's on the table in the mobile industry right now. A key component in T-Mobile's market strategy in recent years has been to go head-to-head with the big-three: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. T-Mobile has similar offers that guarantee trade-in amounts on smartphones and that wipe out early-termination fees.

T-Mobile's efforts seem to be paying off. Earlier this week, research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners announced that T-Mobile's subscriber base grew by 29 percent during the fourth quarter, easily outpacing its competitors and putting it slightly ahead of Sprint to make it the No. 3 cellular provider in the US. Both companies have about 56 million subscribers at last count.

In a series of tweets, outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere held nothing back in his opinions on Sprint's latest move and highlighted his company's growth.

"It makes sense, @Sprint has to target @TMobile when we're winning with 1.3M postpaid [subscriber additions] and they only had 30k in Q4," Legere tweeted. He continued his tirade, saying that he believes Sprint is "desperate" after T-Mobile announced on Thursday that it would no longer save the best deals for those who have strong credit quality in a move it's calling Smartphone Equality. The move is a major departure from the industry, which has long been cognizant of subscriber credit scores when offering top deals.

"But in all [honesty], this is great news for @Sprint," Legere tweeted. "They are closer to offering what we offer. Except on a s***** network."

The fact that Sprint is so willing to take the fight to T-Mobile may indeed speak to the latter's growing success. However, Sprint's announcement painted the move as simply part of its trade-in program and noted that it bought back 3 million phones last year. Sprint also said in response to Legere's comments that his tweets suggest the move might have been a good one.

"He seems pretty concerned," a spokesman told CNET on Friday. "This is an offer that makes sense and is a good deal."

It's unclear whether Sprint's move will have a profound impact on T-Mobile's business. As part of its "Uncarrier" program, T-Mobile will match trade-in pricing from other carriers. So, it's possible that the company could match whatever deal Sprint offers. Interestingly, Sprint also has a matching program, so it's even possible that a price war could erupt for customers who are willing to walk back and forth between stores.

Update 12:42 p.m. PT to include comments from Legere and Sprint.