T-Mobile launches 'Score' rewards program to give customers discounts on phones

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is looking to give its customers discounts when they upgrade to a new smartphone, hoping to ameliorate the cost of a new phone since the carrier does not offer subsidized devices.

The program, called Score, is open to all T-Mobile prepaid and postpaid customers. Under Score, customers pay $5 per month. After six months in the program, or $30 in fees, members automatically qualify for a free, entry-level LTE smartphone. After 12 months ($60), customers can get discounts on to all T-Mobile LTE smartphones.

For example, after paying $5 per month for six months, customers can get a phone like the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 for free. Or, after paying $5 per month for 12 months, they can get $150 off the full price of the Motorola Nexus 6 or $100 off the Samsung Galaxy S5.

As Re/code notes, while customers will be paying for an uncertain discount, the plan incentivizes T-Mobile customers to stick with the carrier so they can get a reward on an upgrade. While customers clearly get benefits, the Score program is also another monthly revenue stream for T-Mobile on top of normal device billings as part of T-Mobile's equipment installment plans.

The Score program launch comes less than a week after T-Mobile announced it is giving every customer with a monthly voice plan who has made or makes 12 consecutive on-time monthly bill payments access to zero-down financing for smartphones regardless of their credit score.

However, T-Mobile is not the only carrier with a rewards program. Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) launched its Smart Reward program nationwide in July, giving all of its postpaid customers access to its customer loyalty program. The program, which was launched in early 2014 in select markets, allows customers to accumulate points and then use those points toward discounts on the purchase of various goods and services. Customers get points for activities such as signing in to the My Verizon online account management tool, paying their monthly bill, and other transactions like using the Verizon Trade In program or choosing paperless billing.

Verizon's program offers customers discounts and savings of up to 40 percent on brand-name merchandise from more than 200 well-known brands. The program also gives customers offers on local shopping and dining they can redeem directly from their wireless device, as well as travel offers including discounts at more than 26,000 hotels.

Separately, C Spire Wireless has its Percs rewards program, which gives customers points for activities like paying a bill or telling friends about C Spire. The points can be redeemed for discounts, gift cards and much more and C Spire says active participants in Percs can save an average of $300 per year.

For more:
- see this release
- see this T-Mobile site
- see this Re/code article

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