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T-Mobile Makes Early Termination Fees Less Ouchy in Confusing Increments

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As promised last year, T-Mobile is finally reducing its early termination fees, so breaking your contract to get some actual 3Gness won't pound you quite as hard. Instead of declining month-by-month, the fee goes down in weird increments.

If you've got 180-91 days left, the ETF penalty drops to $100. 90 days or less, it drops to $50, and with fewer than 30 days, it's either $50 or your monthly fee, whichever is cheaper. But if you've got more than six months looks like you're gonna get smacked. (Update: Consumerist editor and nice guy Ben Popken tells me it's not technically pro-rating, since the fee goes down in increments and never touches zero.) Full details:

T-Mobile Offers Customers Additional Service Plan Flexibility

The Recognized Leader in Wireless Customer Care

Launches ETFs That Decline During the Course of an Agreement

BELLEVUE, Wash. – June 23, 2008 – T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced a new approach to early termination fees (ETFs) that provides greater flexibility for T-Mobile customers.

Beginning on June 28, 2008, the ETF for customers who choose a one-year or two-year service agreement with T-Mobile will decline during the course their contract. The ETF decreases from $200 to $100 if customers terminate service with 91 to 180 days remaining on their agreement; and decreases again to $50 with fewer than 91 days remaining. If customers terminate in the last 30 days of their term, the ETF is $50 or their standard monthly charge, whichever is less.

For customers who do not want term commitments or ETFs, T-Mobile offers a variety of service options, including:

•T-Mobile FlexPaySM: A program that offers customers access to nationwide long-distance calling and roaming, the latest phones, and T-Mobile's great rate plans including myFavesSM - all without having to commit to a long-term service agreement or make a hefty deposit.

•Prepaid Plans: Flexible plans that give customers the freedom to communicate with no annual contract, no credit checks and no monthly bills. Prepaid options include:

•Pay By The Day: Recently introduced, this option costs $1 per day only on days when the phone is used. In exchange, customers get unlimited T-Mobile-to-T-Mobile calling all day and unlimited nationwide calling from 7 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. All other domestic calls are just 10¢ per minute and text messages are 10¢ to send and 5¢ to receive.

•Pay As You Go (previously named T-Mobile To Go): Customers can purchase minutes as they need them. Customers who purchase $100 in refills become Gold Rewards members and receive 15 percent more minutes on all future refills.

•Sidekick Prepaid (previously named Sidekick To Go): T-Mobile Sidekick® fans receive unlimited domestic e-mailing, Web browsing, instant messaging, and text messaging for $1 per day, and nationwide calling costs just 15¢ per minute.

"T-Mobile continues to set the pace in offering customers a number of flexible plans and services that don't require a contract to help them stay connected to those who matter most," said Sue Nokes, Chief Customer and Operations Officer, T-Mobile USA. "In addition, by providing this flexibility and choice, our hope is that T-Mobile customers will be happy customers for years to come."

Earlier this year, T-Mobile received highest ranking in the J.D. Power and Associates' Wireless Customer Care Performance StudySM for the seventh consecutive reporting period. Additional information about T-Mobile calling plans can be found at