serviceslogo47_hero_lowSprint announced today that customers switching to one of the company’s new “Framily” plans can get up to $650 to cover the cost of leaving their old carrier. Users can get a prepaid Visa card worth up to $350 to cover an early termination fee or the cost of a phone that they’re paying off, and can also receive up to $300 in Sprint credit when they trade in their old phone.

The Friends and Family plan is designed to offer customers the benefits of a traditional family plan, but they can add any 10 people that they know to the plan, rather than just family members. Interested customers will be able to take advantage of the offer for the next two weeks, before it disappears.

The offer is almost identical to T-Mobile’s own carrier-switching incentive, which the company introduced at CES earlier this year. Unsurprisingly, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has taken to Twitter to  announce his disapproval, with a hefty helping of snark, and the hashtag “#fruckedup.”

This whole situation is made more complicated by the fact that Sprint is rumored to be interested in buying T-Mobile, though an acquisition like that may not be possible because of opposition from U.S. regulators. While Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son has been putting on a full-court press to try and drum up support for a merger, arguing that such an action would make it possible to start a “price war” with AT&T and Verizon, he’s facing an uphill battle.

Sprint is the third carrier this year to try and draw customers away from their current wireless provider with lump sum payments. AT&T offered a short-lived program that offered T-Mobile customers up to $450 to switch carriers earlier this year.

John Legere
John Legere

Legere has been fighting a PR battle on multiple fronts this week. Yesterday, he published an open letter to T-Mobile’s BlackBerry customers informing them that even though BlackBerry has decided to stop selling phones to T-Mobile, customers who currently use BlackBerry handsets will remain supported. In addition, Legere said that BlackBerry users can get an additional $100 credit towards any new device from the carrier until the end of the year.

It’s a part of a continuing spat between the two companies that started when T-Mobile sent an e-mail to existing BlackBerry users on their network pointing out that they could trade in their old BlackBerry and pick up a new iPhone. Chen fired off a blog post calling the promotion “ill-conceived,” and T-Mobile retaliated by offering BlackBerry owners additional credit for trading in their old handsets.

While the Bellevue-based carrier offered BlackBerry users more credit if they purchased one of the Canadian phone maker’s new devices, the vast majority of people who took advantage of T-Mobile’s promotion purchased something other than a BlackBerry. That may indicate that this fight with BlackBerry is more about perception than profits. While BlackBerry is talking a good game, it doesn’t seem like the loss of their phones will negatively impact T-Mobile all that much.

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