U.S. Cellular offers $100 credit for new smartphone subs

U.S. Cellular is continuing its efforts to get more smartphone customers, offering shoppers a $100 credit toward their bills if they switch to the carrier and sign up for a contract with a smartphone.

Through Sept. 8, U.S. Cellular said it will give customers a $100 bill credit per line when they activate a smartphone. The company said the credit should have particular appeal to families who want to switch their service en masse to U.S. Cellular.

The offer also coincides with the regional carrier's back-to-school promotion. U.S. Cellular said that through Sept. 8, its newest smartphones, including the HTC 7 Pro running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 platform and the Android-powered HTC Merge and LG Genesis, are all available for just $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate along with a data plan purchase.

U.S. Cellular is likely hoping the deal will reverse its subscriber losses. The carrier lost 39,000 net subscribers in the first quarter.

In June, U.S. Cellular said that by year-end it will launch seven smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform (including one LTE smartphone) along with two tablets. The company, which had originally planned to deploy LTE in 2012, announced it will deploy LTE in 24 markets by November, covering approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of its total subscriber base of around 6 million subscribers. The company will outfit around 1,250 cell sites with LTE using its 700 MHz spectrum.

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