Verizon preparing to take Smart Rewards customer loyalty program nationwide

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) launched a customer loyalty program earlier this year called Smart Rewards, which allows customers to accumulate points and then use those points toward discounts on the purchase of various goods and services. The carrier is preparing to take the service nationwide, a launch that could happen as soon as April 1, according to a person familiar with the company's plans.

Verizon's Smart Rewards program is similar to the loyalty and reward programs offered by credit card companies, grocery stores and others. It rewards customers with points when they pay their bill, sign up for Verizon programs like automatic bill payment, or upgrade their account with a new line of service or add an additional device to their shared data account. Customers can then use those accumulated points to receive discounts toward the purchase of things like gift cards, local goods and services, travel and other offerings.

The carrier is currently offering Smart Rewards to customers in Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Northern Idaho, Northern Mississippi, Washington and Western Tennessee--and Verizon said "we do plan to expand nationally in 2014." A source familiar with the company's plans said Verizon is gearing for a nationwide launch of Smart Rewards by April 1. A Verizon spokesperson declined to comment on the April 1 launch date.

Verizon isn't the first wireless provider to offer a customer loyalty program. T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) MVNO Solavei launched its Marketplace program in October 2013. At the time, Solavei said the program gives its users access to offers and discounts from 16,000 large and small retailers nationwide, including a majority of the top 30 largest U.S. retailers.

Separately, América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless last year launched its "Trac 'N' Save" digital coupon and wallet program, which the company said provides "the best deals, discounts and promotions from trusted partners" to its more than 23 million customers.

U.S. Cellular continues to offer a customer rewards program that it introduced in 2010 as part of its Belief Project push.

Such programs are geared toward strengthening the ties between service providers like Verizon and their customers, ties that are becoming increasingly critical as wireless carriers work to steal customers from each other with discounted services and reduced prices.

For more:
- see this Verizon Smart Rewards site

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