At this time, my Early Termination Fees (ETFs) with AT&T are $155 for a line thats due in September of this year. Thats a prorated amount down from $350 in case you're wondering. Let me back up.
If you've been following me on twitter, I've been fed up with AT&T's false advertising that sold me a few years ago for a service that CLEARLY said "Unlimited Data" for $30. I use FaceTime quite a bit,1 stream my baby monitor from hundreds of miles away, and sometimes just soak up youtube so yea, I'll easily go over 5GBs a month and trust me, hotel WiFi is horrific! I hate that they expect me to use it in place of a service that I pay for! So back to the story.
If I sell my Apple iPhone 5 64GB White to T-Mobile for $300 and they pay my ETF at $155, that's "$455" in my pocket. The only way they will "Unleash" you is if you trade in your phone, no exceptions. Then I have to buy a FULL priced mobile phone, desirably an iPhone 5s 64GB, for $799. That means, I still have to shell out $344 so that's not that bad of a deal right? That's actually incorrect. Let me explain. I'd be shelling out $499 for my new phone after the trade-in credit followed by a Mastercard Gift Card in the credit amount of $155 in approximately 8 weeks. So I'm out half a grand to "unleash."
If I can wait, and probably will, for just six more months, I can unlock my iPhone 5, sell it on the market for maybe $400 or more, then buy a full priced iPhone 6. So yes, I'm still out $399 but, here's where I could save. I could then bring it along with me to T-Mobile, and pay nothing leaving me with just the $70 Unlimited 4G Everything Plan plus a $10 SIM kit. When it comes down to it, I'll be out money obviously later in the year with me upgrading my phone but ideally, I'd rather T-Mobile just pay my ETF now and I bring my current iPhone 5 with me. That's what the deal should have been in the first place.
disclaimer: I signed a 2 year contract with AT&T for a subsidized iPhone 5 so ultimately, with the "Unleash" deal, you still end up paying full price for the device. I could save a bunch of money and purchase Google's Nexus 5 for $349 unlocked online instead but that's a whole other story of iOS vs. Android, etc. I'm not going to go there just yet.
And yes, it's pretty awesome that with the unlimited 4G Data you get an additional 2.5GB of tethering capability.