Graph: Which Cellphone Company Has The Best Early Termination Fee Policy?

Discounting or pro-rating the early termination fees that cellphone companies love to tack on to their contracts is becoming more common, so we thought we’d make some graphs that show the strengths and weaknesses of the different policies. As you can see, T-Mobile 2-year ETF doesn’t make any discounts until fairly late in the contract period — and their ETF of $200 is higher than either of the other two companies that offer discounts. (Sprint does not pro-rate or discount its ETF.) T-Mobile’s ETF does, however, reach a point where their discounts are steeper than Verizon and AT&T’s pro-rating.

As far as the other policies go: AT&T and Verizon have similar pro-rating plans, (for each month that goes by they deduct $5 from the ETF) but Verizon starts discounting earlier than AT&T, according to Consumer Reports.

When you look at 1 year contracts, T-Mobile’s plan looks a lot better. Their discounts beat both AT&T and Verizon after 6 months. Also, if you cancel T-Mobile in the final month of either a 2 year or a 1 year contract, you’ll have to pay either $50 or your monthly fee — whichever is less.

Something to watch out for: T-Mobile’s trial period is only 20 days, while AT&T and Verizon both give you 30 days.

T-Mobile announces pro-rating of termination fees [Consumer Reports]