US Cellular announces $1,000 promotion to attract customers

Coming off a sub-par financial quarter, mobile operator U.S. Cellular announced plans today to stimulate business with a promotion that includes Slacker Radio Premium for qualifying customers.

The promotion, which U.S. Cellular valued at $1,000 per line, includes:

  • A $300 switcher incentive in the form of U.S. Cellular Promotional Cards. $100 of this incentive arrives with a new U.S. Cellular device, while the other $200 is delivered upon receipt of a user's old smartphone

  • 2 GB of bonus data per month for two years

  • A $100 accessory discount

  • One-year membership for Slacker Radio Premium

Slacker Radio Premium, which normally retails for $9.99/month, includes on-demand, ad-free and offline access to Slacker's music library. It also provides access to unique radio stations and unlimited song skips.

The promotion's announcement comes a month after U.S. Cellular, the fifth-largest mobile operator in the country, posted poor first-quarter earnings and shares plummeted. In the first quarter of 2016, the Chicago-based carrier reported profits of only 10 cents per share, when analysts had projected 23 cents per share and last year's profits at that time came out to $1.89 per share.

One caveat for that stark reduction, however: In the first quarter of 2015, U.S. Cellular earned $145 million after tax from the sale and exchange of businesses and licenses. That gave it a net income of $160 million at the time, when the net income for the same period this year was only $9 million.

U.S. Cellular is hardly the first struggling provider to use promotional bundles to draw customers. Last month, for instance, Sprint began offering a year of Amazon Prime to customers who sign up for its 40 GB data plan.

The promotion is available for U.S. Cellular customers who port in their number, trade in a current smartphone and activate a new smartphone on a 3 GB or higher Shared Connect plan with installment pricing and Device Protection+.

For more:
- see this press release
- read this PC Magazine review of Slacker Radio

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