T-Mobile is preparing to launch two new programs aimed at the credit-challenged customers in its base that have wanted to take advantage of its $0 down financing plans and special postpaid pricing on phones, but weren’t able to due to poor or no credit history.
The first program is known as “Smartphone Equality” and will consist of a program where monthly prepaid customers will be able to “move” to postpaid service after 12 months of consecutive on-time service payments and be able to qualify for the same offers as those that are not credit-challenged, under the conceit that a poor or no credit history should not prevent people from getting a good deal on the latest phones and service.
In addition to the “Smartphone Equality” program, the carrier is expected to launch a modified version of its JUMP! early upgrade program for the same credit-challenged and prepaid customers known internally as T-Mobile SCORE!.
T-Mobile SCORE! is expected to launch on the 25th as the companion to Smartphone Equality and will cost $5 a month on top of the monthly plan cost. The program will allow those who don’t otherwise qualify for JUMP! to upgrade their phone early, which includes those on select monthly prepaid plans as well as older plans. Those who have paid full retail price for their phone, or who have a pre-paid or postpaid account without an installment plan will be able to subscribe to SCORE! as well as T-Mobile customers who bring their own phone to the carrier.
After 6 months, those signed up to the program will be able to upgrade to an entry level handset for free that is said to include the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2, Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2, LG Optimus L90 or the T-Mobile Concord II.
For those that wait to upgrade after 12 months, the SCORE! program can be used to obtain special pricing on higher-end handsets. Once the SCORE! eligibility is used, the timer resets and the program counter starts over. However, unlike the JUMP! program which is essentially a rolling lease program, the SCORE! program will not force customers to trade in their phones for an upgrade at either the 6 month or 12 month mark.
The above programs follow comments made by CEO John Legere during last month’s investor conference call that focused on drawing in more customers outside of the typical wireless customer during 2015 and the above programs are expected to drive more customer additions during what is typically a slow quarter for new customer gains.
Update: T-Mobile has launched both the Smartphone Equality and Score programs.