How will Sprint's Framily fare against T-Mobile's ETF buyout?

In Framily we trust.

At least, that's the takeaway from Sprint after the wireless carrier reported fourth-quarter results, which revealed the company continues to bleed money but is returning to customer growth.

Sprint is hoping to keep that growth going with Framily, a friends and family plan that allows people to sign up together for increased savings. CEO Dan Hesse said he believes the plan will give it an edge against the competition.

The introduction of Framily is just one of a string of incentives and plans offered by the national carriers -- all designed to entice customers to … Read more

Send a breakup letter to your carrier, courtesy of T-Mobile

There's no question John Legere and team have done a tremendous job with helping to change and reshape the wireless industry as we once knew it. During CES, T-Mobile announced as part of it's Uncarrier movement, Uncarrier Part 4 to be exact, that it would start paying early termination fees for customers currently under contract with another carrier.

A brilliant marketing campaign has followed, with T-Mobile offering to help you "break up" with your carrier. If you're on Twitter and follow Legere, then you have seen the amount of photos he retweets from various customers … Read more

T-Mobile execs on how they can afford to buy out your early-termination fees

LAS VEGAS -- Well, T-Mobile had an exciting week.

CEO John Legere started things off on Monday night by getting himself kicked out of a party thrown by AT&T (as a result of this reporter's tweeting -- sorry).

Legere and his team followed up today with Un-carrier 4.0, which entails paying the early-termination fees for customers and family-plan members, allowing them to switch to T-Mobile more easily. T-Mobile will pay up to $350 a line for up to five lines, as well as offer a credit of up to $300 for the old phones.

T-Mobile is … Read more

Winklevoss twins work to make Bitcoin more legit with SEC filing

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have emerged as two of the more steadfast advocates for the digital currency Bitcoin.

What is the Winklevoss' interest with the cryptic digital currency that is under scrutiny by governments around the world? Apparently, money.

The twins are best known for suing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with claims that he stole the idea of the social network from them. But, they've now moved on to new endeavors. The Winklevoss twins filed a trust registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

The "Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust" aims to give commodity buyers more … Read more

Carrier confusion: When am I free to leave my family plan?

Wireless operators would like to believe the pricing and terms of their services are straightforward and easy to understand. But when it comes to deciphering family plans or figuring out whether you can or cannot use your smartphone as a wireless hotspot, it's not always so clear.

In this edition of Ask Maggie, I explain to a reader who is confused about how wireless contracts work on a family plan. He complains that he was socked with a hefty early termination fee, and he wonders if it has something to do with the fact that he and his wife … Read more

The 404 1,195: Where what the ETF? (podcast)

Listeners of The 404 Show have plenty of financial questions, so we look to our resident expert Jill Schlesinger from "CBS MoneyWatch" to make sense of it all. From ETFs to IRAs and everything in between, Jill and Jeff navigate the choppy waters of personal finance. They'll also talk about Apple in great detail, and whether the company's sinking stock price is a sign of things to come.

Jill hits up The 404 Show every three weeks, so if you've got a question you want answered on the show, be sure to send a tweet or e-mail us! … Read more

Can I ditch Sprint without paying an early termination fee?

What happens when you sign a two-year contract with a carrier and you soon discover that network is painfully slow?

Unfortunately, you may be stuck with that service. In this edition of Ask Maggie, I offer some advice on what one Sprint customer can do to get out of his contract without paying a hefty early termination fee. I also offer some information on the new Sprint 4G LTE deployment in Atlanta.

Breaking up with Sprint

Dear Maggie, I have a family plan with Sprint. I have an iPhone 4S and three iPhone 4's on Sprint. We love the … Read more

Dialed In #216, Special Edition: All about ETFs (podcast)

Early-termination fees got you down? ETFs are fees that phone carriers charge customers in case they want to cancel their contracts early. Agreements usually last two years, but if you want to leave a carrier before then, the company uses ETFs as a way to recuperate money from selling you a subsidized phone. Some argue, however, that these fees are grossly expensive and exploitative. Our main advice is to read the terms of your agreement carefully and drum up a lot of attention with your carrier if things aren't going exactly the way you think they should be. For … Read more

8 tips for ditching your cell phone contract early

We talk a lot about early-termination fees, or ETFs, here at CNET because we have a love/hate relationship with signing a two-year service agreement (or three years if you're in countries like Canada). On the one hand, who doesn't love being able to own a $500 or $600 smartphone for $200, $50, or even a penny? You just can't swing that in the unlocked phone market.

On the other hand, few people enjoy being tied to a carrier, and to their carrier's phone selection, over the course of two years or longer. What if you change your mind about the service quality, what if your dream phone just came out on another carrier -- what if? Once you sign your name on the dotted line, there's little you can do to avoid an up-to-$350 fee to jump ship.… Read more

Sprint raises ETF to $350; a sign of new devices?

Sprint has joined AT&T and Verizon Wireless in increasing its early termination fees (ETFs) for advanced devices. Sprint used to charge a $200 ETF for those who skip out on their contracts early; now it's $350. However, it will be prorated depending on how many months left you have in the contract.

Verizon Wireless increased its ETF for advanced devices to a prorated $350 in November 2009, and AT&T increased it to a prorated $325 in June 2010. Advanced devices includes smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Netbooks. T-Mobile is currently the only carrier that has not … Read more