Sprint targets T-Mobile customers with $175 credit

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is taking another opportunity to make hay of AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA--and get new subscribers in the process. Sprint has launched a program to entice subscribers to port their numbers to Sprint in exchange for a range of credits worth up to $175. 

The promotion started May 4, and was first reported by the blog Spantechular. The offer is a $175 for business customers who switch to Sprint and purchase any phone; $125 for individual customers who buy a smartphone; or $50 for individuals who buy a feature phone. All accounts must be ported to Sprint from existing contracts, and customers must sign up for a two-year contract and remain active for 61 days. The offer runs through June 23.

The ad asks, "Do you have a feeling the T-Mobile/AT&T love connection won't end with a Happily Ever After?" If customers decide to switch to Sprint and then switch back to T-Mobile if the deal does not go through, Sprint will credit their early termination fee.

Sprint spokesman Lloyd Karnes told CNN that the credit is intended to "give customers a chance to try Sprint without having to worry about fees or charges for terminating their contracts with their current carriers." Karnes said that, despite the ad's language, the promotion is not aimed specifically at T-Mobile customers, and applies to all subscribers at competing carriers. However, Karnes did not deny to CNN that the acquisition influenced the timing of this specific offer.

Sprint, the nation's No. 3 carrier, is engaged with AT&T on multiple fronts in its battle against the AT&T/T-Mobile transaction. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse testified before Congress this week against it, and in addition to lobbying federal regulators and lawmakers, Sprint is taking its case against the deal to state regulators.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this CNN article
- see this Spantechular post

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Correction, May 13, 2011: This article originally stated that the Sprint credit for for individuals who buy a feature phone is $75. It is $50. The article also originally stated that the offer runs through July 23. It runs through June 23.