As expected, T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.1%) has announced at its Un-Carrier 4.0 event it will offer large amounts of credit to convince users to abandon rival carriers. (PR)
The #4 U.S. carrier will offer up to $300 in credit to consumers for handing in an existing device, buying an eligible T-Mobile phone, and signing up for a T-Mobile postpaid plan. It'll also offer up to $350 to pay off early termination fees.
T-Mobile's offer is more aggressive than AT&T's. Ma Bell announced last week it would provide (for the time being) up to $450 in credit to get T-Mobile users to switch.
Many investors/analysts are nervous T-Mobile's efforts, together with reciprocal moves from rivals, could increase industry churn and pressure margins.
Separately, T-Mobile has announced it added 1.645M total subs and 869K branded postpaid subs in seasonally strong Q4. BTIG's Walter Piecyk states the figures are above consensus estimates of 1.2M and 653K.
With MetroPCS' help, 112K branded prepaid subs were added, up from 24K in Q3 and 73K a year ago. Branded postpaid churn was 1.7%, flat Q/Q and down from 2.5% a year ago.
The Q4 numbers put an exclamation mark on T-Mobile's 2013 turnaround. After bleeding share for years to AT&T and Verizon (515K branded postpaid subs were lost in Q4 2012), the carrier engineered a turnaround with the help of iPhone sales, no-contract/subsidy-free postpaid plans, and its Jump smartphone upgrade plan.