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Metro by T-Mobile Now Allowing Free Phone Deals Online With Number Port

Metro by T-Mobile is now offering free phones to customers who port their numbers online. Previously, the provider only offered free phone deals in stores for customers porting their numbers, while online shoppers could only get free phones if they obtained a new number. It's not clear if this will be a permanent change.

Metro by T-Mobile's former policy of not allowing deeply discounted deals to online shoppers porting a number was a rather archaic practice. Every other carrier owned prepaid brand has long offered either free phones or deeply discounted phones to those customers. AT&T's Cricket Wireless leads the way in this area often making a generous number of phones available for free to switchers.

At the time of this writing, T-Mobile has not made any formal announcements about their new online switcher deals. It's not clear why they have made the change now after holding out for so many years, however, slowing subscriber growth likely plays a role. T-Mobile's 4Q23 earnings showed that their full year prepaid additions were down year over year. In 2022 they reported 338k net adds while in 2023 the number dropped to 282k. It's important to note that T-Mobile counts high-speed internet customers as part of its prepaid additions. So the actual growth from phone plan subscribers is likely even lower. Slowing prepaid growth is also likely a reason why T-Mobile currently has an offer on the table to buy Mint Mobile.

T-Mobile's prepaid division has also seen declining ARPUs over the last two years. In 1Q22 the number was at at $39.19, now a two year high, and $38.76 for FY22. The 2023 full year ARPU further declined to $37.92.

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Metro by T-Mobile's website doesn't exactly make it clear which devices are available for free or deeply discounted with a number port. However, over half a dozen offers that I looked at were available online with a number port and better deals were even offered for number ports vs getting a new number. This leads me to believe any advertised deal is available online to switchers. By my count, it looks like over two dozen phones are available to online switchers at a steep discount with many being free. Some free phone offers include the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G, Moto G Stylus 5G 2023, and the iPhone 11.

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