T-Mobile Will Pay Off Your iPhone if You Leave Verizon

T-Mobile is so eager to throw elbows at rival wireless carrier Verizon that it's willing to pay off the phone of Verizon customers if they agree to take their business to the Uncarrier.

That's the basis of the latest promotion unveiled by T-Mobile. Starting May 31, Verizon customers with an eligible phone can switch to T-Mobile and have their new carrier cover any remaining installment payments on their device. Verizon customers who switch will be able to keep their device.

There are a couple catches, though, starting with the eligible phones. You can only take advantage of T-Mobile's offer if you've got one of Google's Pixel devices or an iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus. Also, you'll have to sign up for T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection Plus service, which costs $15 a month. (T-Mobile says that you can cancel that service at any time.)

MORE: T-Mobile Phone Plan Buying Guide

Your device payoff will come in the form of a digital prepaid MasterCard. T-Mobile says the payoff typically comes within 15 days of customers switching.

While T-Mobile is primarily targeting Verizon customers with its offer, would-be switchers from AT&T and Sprint aren't totally left out, though the incentives that T-Mobile is dangling are pretty conventional. T-Mobile says it will pay off the device and early termination fees for customers from those two carriers, but only if they finance a new device with T-Mobile. On the bright side, there's no trade-in required, and T-Mobile is promising the same quicker payout of early termination fees.

In our latest rankings of wireless carriers, Verizon edged out T-Mobile but just barely. The two carriers compete very well on data plans — T-Mobile's unlimited plan is cheaper, while Verizon still offers an attractively priced 5GB plan if you don't need unlimited data. Verizon topped T-Mobile when we tested LTE speeds, though T-Mobile claims Verizon's network is slowing after Big Red launched unlimited data plans last year. Verizon won our customer service showdown for wireless carriers.

More than mere spite is behind T-Mobile's new offer to Verizon customers: getting people to switch their wireless service has been good business for the Uncarrier. In its most recent quarter, T-Mobile added 914,000 postpaid subscribers. During that same period, Verizon lost 307,000 subscribers.

T-Mobile says its offer to dissatisfied Verizon customers will be the first of many promotions it's planning in the coming weeks. In addition to its offer to new customers, T-Mobile is letting existing T-Mobile One unlimited plan subscribers with at least two lines add two additional lines for the price of one. The savings will come in the form of a bill credit.

Both offers are for a limited time, though T-Mobile didn't specify when they'll end.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.