When a cell phone carrier wants you to sign a two-year contract or tries to sell you a phone for cheap on a financing plan, there's usually an asterisk at the end of the offer. To take part, you need to have good credit, which is typically defined by a third-party bureau. Building credit takes a long time, and it's easy to ruin, leaving large numbers of Americans with less than stellar scores. Today T-Mobile has announced "Smartphone Equality," which opens up the carrier's deals to people who wouldn't otherwise qualify.
Starting January 25th, anyone who has paid their T-Mobile bill on time for 12 months in a row will be guaranteed access to financing plans and other deals only offered to well qualified customers. This is retroactive, meaning many existing users will already be eligible.
The announcement wouldn't be complete without some of CEO John Legere's trademark raging, so here you go.
T-Mobile Introduces Smartphone Equality
The Un-carrier’s newest breakthrough move gives absolutely everyone the ability to get the best prices
Bellevue, Washington — January 22, 2015 — T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) today took another bold stand for fairness with “Smartphone Equality™,” taking on the wireless industry practice of denying perfectly good customers the best deals. The Un-carrier’s latest move gives absolutely everyone a way to get the very best deals and offers – deals previously available only to those with great credit. In the end, Smartphone Equality means that more Americans will be able to get their hands on a smartphone regardless of their credit score or how they choose to pay.
T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere took to the company’s blog today to expose how this industry practice impacts customers and share what T-Mobile is doing about it.
“Last year, the carriers spent billions advertising deals and plans that half of Americans can’t get when signing up for wireless service. That’s complete BS,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “We’ve created a better way with Smartphone Equality. Beginning now, your relationship with us counts more than your credit score − which means absolutely everyone can get the hottest smartphones at the best prices.”
T-Mobile’s found an Un-carrier™ way to solve this problem. And like all Un-carrier solutions, it’s both radically simple and far more customer friendly than the industry status quo. Because most of us can’t imagine life without our smartphones these days, we make sure that wireless bill is paid on time so we always stay connected. In fact, the wireless bill has become a bellwether for credit worthiness. And T-Mobile’s research shows that, when it comes to wireless service, recent payment history is an even better predictor of future behavior than a credit score.
The way Smartphone Equality works couldn’t be simpler.
Customers qualify by paying for their wireless service on-time for 12 straight months. That’s it. Every single customer with a monthly voice plan can qualify to get the Un-carrier’s best device pricing and financing − including $0 down on the hottest smartphones with no interest and no credit check. Even prepaid customers can get the same deals with our wildly popular Simple Choice postpaid plan. And loyal customers get immediate credit for their relationship with T-Mobile − which means many existing customers will immediately be eligible when Smartphone Equality kicks off on January 25th.
U.S. wireless carriers base their decisions about which customers get the best prices on third-party credit scores churned out by nameless, faceless bureaucracies − which in turn base those numbers on data scraped together from your distant past. And they use that − and sometimes only that − to judge whether or not you’re “well qualified,” even if you’ve been paying your bills on time for years. The fact is that 63% of Americans today are given less than perfect credit scores, and over half of all Americans aren’t even able to get the carriers’ advertised deals. So, they’ll end up paying more − both upfront and over time.
“This is not only the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do, too,” Legere added. “Fact is, your past payment history is the best way to tell if you’ll make future payments on time. So this is good for customers and good for business.”
To learn more about Smartphone Equality, visit www.t-mobile.com and read John Legere’s blog post at newsroom.t-mobile.com.