AT&T T-Mobile

T-Mobile today introduced its new “UnCarrier 4.0″ approach that incentivizes customers to move from Sprint, Verizon or AT&T over to its network. T-Mobile is offering up to $650 to make the switch. Meanwhile, AT&T introduced a similar incentive last week that it hopes will attract customers away from T-Mobile, and it’s offering up to $450. It might sound a bit confusing, so we’ll clear things up a bit for you.

Here’s what AT&T is doing: if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you can walk into an AT&T store and ask to switch. Usually, you might have to pay an early termination fee to make that change if you’re under a contract. AT&T is offering a gift card worth up to $250 for a T-Mobile smartphone trade-in, and will then give you a $200 credit for each line you move over. To take advantage of this deal, you need to either bring your own device and buy a phone at full cost, or sign up for AT&T’s early upgrade Next plans. Either way, whether your turn in a phone or not, you get $200.

Here’s what T-Mobile is doing: if you’re a Sprint, Verizon or AT&T customer, you can walk into a T-Mobile store and ask to switch. You’ll get up to $300 for your smartphone (and that $300 is probably only for the latest and greatest devices like the iPhone 5s), plus $350 toward your early termination fee. This can be done for each line on a family account, or by any individual line. T-Mobile, meanwhile, requires that you either trade-in your own device and sign up for a new Simple Choice plan. You don’t need to sign up for T-Mobile’s JUMP plan — the plan that competes with AT&T’s Next — though that’s an option if you device that’s the right option for you.

Who did it first? AT&T. Who offers the better plan? That’s up for you to decide, and it will ultimately depend on how much T-Mobile is willing to pay for your handset. If you have an older one, you might not want to leave your carrier because T-Mobile won’t be offering the full $300 for an old phone. Still, you’ll get your early termination fee paid for.

T-Mobile and AT&T are at one another’s throats right now, though it’s clear that the competition is helping create more choice for consumers. If you’re upset with T-Mobile and want to move to AT&T, you now have an easier way to do so. If you’re on another carrier and want to move to T-Mobile, it’s easier than ever. Consumers win either way.