Comparing Early Termination Fees of popular Wireless Service Providers

Thinking of moving to a different carrier, canceling your wireless agreement, or signing a contract? Consider the Early Termination Fee that you might have to pay. Early Termination Fees also known as and commonly referred to as the ETF are used by service providers to make sure that they get their investment back from you and of course make you think twice before cancelling your service or moving to a different provider.

In this article I am going to compare some of the Early Termination Fees of some of the more popular wireless providers found in the United States.

AT&T Early Termination Fee

The ETF (Early Termination Fee) for an AT&T Smartphone that requires a data plan and in which you signed a service commitment is going to be $325 minus $10 for each month that you have already completed. So if you’re thinking of switching from AT&T to another provider and you have been with AT&T in your current contract for 8 full months than your ETF is going to be $245. $325 – ($10 x 8) = 245.

If you have just a regular phone, like say a basic flip phone, then its $150 minus $4 for every month completed.

Verizon’s Early Termination Fee

The ETF (Early Termination Fee) for an Advanced Device aka Smartphone by Verizon is $350 minus $10 for each full month completed. So if you currently have your wireless service through Verizon and you’ve been with them for 8 months already and you’re your thinking of switching than the ETF is going to be $270. $350 – ($10 x 8) = $270.

If it’s not an Advanced Device then your Early Termination Fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of the contract term that you’ve already completed.

T-Mobile’s Early Termination Fee

The ETF for T-Mobile is a little different and pretty straightforward in the fact that it’s a flat fee related to how much longer you have left on your contract. If you have more than 180 days left on your contract than the Early Termination Fee is going to be $200. If you have 91–180 days left on your contract than the ETF amount is $100. 30 – 90 days is a $50 fee. And if you have less than 30 days left on your contract than its $50 or the amount of your monthly recurring charges, whichever is less.

I like T-Mobiles ETF support page simply because right underneath the tiers of prices it mentions the fact that you can chose to come back to T-Mobile. If you leave T-Mobile and then change your mind within 3 months (90 days) and want to return they will credit the ETF Fee back to your account. I kind of get the impression of “we don’t want to lose you, but you have to do what you feel you have to do, and we understand. Look though if you leave and it doesn’t work out then no hard feelings feel free to come back, we’ll even give you a refund.” Gives me a good impression about T-Mobile, just the way the page is setup. It also lists other options available as opposed to simply just canceling.

Sprint’s Early Termination Fee

To calculate the ETF on Sprint Smartphones all you have to do is multiply the remaining months in your contract by $20, the maximum fee being $350 and a minimum fee of $100 per line of service.

So if you’re thinking of leaving Sprint and you’ve had your contract with them for 8 months then the Early Termination Fee is going to be $320. $20 x (24 – 8) = $320

If you have 18-23 months remaining the fee is a flat $350. If you have 5 months or less then the fee is a flat $100.

For none Smartphones and non Advanced Devices the Early Termination Fee is a maximum of $200 and a minimum of $50. The same method of calculation applies except its $10 as opposed to $20.

So if you had a non Smartphone with Sprint for 8 months you would have to pay $160 to terminate your contract. $10 x (24 – 8) = $160. Anything more than 20 months is $200 anything less than 5 months is $50.

Cricket’s Wireless Early Termination Fee

Sorry, there is no ETF for Cricket customers because there are no contracts with Cricket! You’re free to come and go as you please, how awesome is that?!

MetroPCS Early Termination Fee

MetroPCS is another wireless provider with no contacts and no termination fees.

Other Wireless Providers

These are just a few of the Cancelation fees and policies involved with some of the more popular wireless service providers. If you didn’t see your wireless provider or its Early Termination Fee listed above then hop on over to their website or try and located the companies user agreement, its most often times listed on those terms and conditions that you agree to when signing your contract.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind concerning Early Termination Fees.

  • Taxes may apply to an ETF based on the state you live in as well as local laws.
  • Each line of Service shall be subject to a separate ETF, so there is going to be a separate fee for each line on your account in which you want to cancel.
  • You do not have to pay an Early Termination Fee if you cancel your contract and return your device within the buyer’s remorse period. This buyer’s remorse period varies depending on which wireless provider you have but it’s typically 14 days from the date of purchase.
  • Read your contract very carefully before signing it, and if you desire to cancel then keep an eye on any changes that your Wireless provider makes to your contract. If they change your contract then you might be able to cancel without any fees. Obviously for legality issues if your wireless provider changes a contract and you don’t agree with the changes then you’re obligation to that provider may be void.
  • Remember that Pre-paid phones have no contracts and there for no cancelation fees.


I hope this article helped to shed some light on the dreaded Early Termination and Cancelation Fee and I hope that you never have to worry about paying one. When buying a new phone if you choose to sign a contract make sure you know about your Buyer’s Remorse time frame, possible Restocking Fees should you wish to return your device, Warranty information and policies, and any Termination Fees involved should you choose to cancel your service.

Otherwise keep your device in warranty by investing in a good case, don’t text and drive, and enjoy your device.

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