If you subscribe to T-Mobile for your wireless service, you're no longer just a customer — you also own a piece of the Uncarrier.
Granted, it's a very small piece — just a single share of stock. But the stock giveaway is one piece of a larger effort by T-Mobile aimed at thanking customers for doubling the carrier's subscriber base to 66 million. In addition, T-Mobile has launched a customer appreciation app that will offer weekly giveaways to subscribers while also expanding in-flight internet access.
John Legere, T-Mobile's always quotable CEO, compared his company's new rewards program to what other carriers offering, blasting rival programs as a "scam to sell more crap." T-Mobile chief operating officer Mike Sievert described the giveaways as a loyalty program aimed at keeping existing customers in the T-Mobile fold.
Besides launching on you on your way to becoming a stock tycoon, the T-Mobile Tuesdays app is where you can claim weekly rewards for your T-Mobile subscription. Those include a recurring weekly giveaway of a free pizza from Domino's, a free frosty from Wendy's and a free movie rental from Vudu. In addition, T-Mobile promises special gifts each week: tomorrow's gift will be a ticket to the opening weekend of the Warcraft movie. Giveaway partners include Major League Baseball, Fandango, Lyft and Samsung, among others.
There's a third way to win as well, with a grand prize given weekly to one subscriber. Tomorrow's debut prize is a Warcraft screening party for you and 40 of your friends.
The T-Mobile Tuesdays App is available for both Android and iOS devices, though the iOS version wasn't on Apple's App Store as we posted this story.
Of the programs announced today (June 6), T-Mobile's Stock Up program is likely to get the most attention. The primary account holder on a postpaid customer plan will be able to claim one share of T-Mobile stock starting June 7. Customers who switch to T-Mobile postpaid accounts will also be eligible for a share of company stock, available through the new T-Mobile Tuesdays app.
You have a chance to add more T-Mobile shares through the carrier's referral program. For each friend or family member you refer that signs up with T-Mobile, the carrier will give you another share. Subscribers who've been with T-Mobile for more than five years will get two shares per referral. You're limited to adding 100 shares of stock each year.
To receive stock, T-Mobile customers will need to set up a free account with electronic brokerage Loyal3. T-Mobile says it's picking up any fees for the first year for subscribers who either sell their shares or transfer them to another brokerage account; after that, company executives say, there might be a fee associated with any transactions.
T-Mobile already let its subscribers text for free on domestic flights equipped with Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi. Free messaging will be extending beyond SMS to iMessage, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Viber, T-Mobile announced as part of its customer appreciation efforts. You'll also now get an hour's worth of free Wi-Fi on Gogo-equipped planes if you subscribed to T-Mobile (though with today's news that American Airlines is using ViaSat on its new planes, that may be fewer flights going forward).
T-Mobile's announcements follow an appreciation program launched by AT&T last week called AT&T Thanks. That features pre-sale access for AT&T customers to events put on by promoter Live Nation and a buy-one-get-one-free promotion for movie tickets on Tuesdays. T-Mobile's Legere framed AT&T's announcement as a pre-emptive response to what T-Mobile had planned: "They even respond to rumors of what we're doing," he told reporters during a Q&A session today.
"It's the funniest thing I've ever seen," Legere added.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.