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Having Nixed Subsidies, T-Mobile Tries a Different Kind of Phone Discount Program

For a $5 monthly fee, customers get various discounts toward their next phone purchases.

Having done away with phone subsidies, T-Mobile on Sunday launched a different way for customers to avoid paying full price for their next cellphones.

T-Mobile Score

The carrier is offering a program called Score, where, for a $5 monthly fee, customers get various discounts toward their next phone purchase. After six months in the program, T-Mobile says customers can get a free low-end smartphone, or after a year Score members can get a discount on top-of-the-line models like the Galaxy S5 or Nexus 6.

It’s an unusual approach, with customers paying ahead for an uncertain discount on their next phone.

For T-Mobile, though, the benefit of Score is clear as customers will be, in essence, incentivizing themselves to stick with the carrier for their next phone. And it comes amid an increasingly fierce battle for customers, with T-Mobile and Sprint aggressively looking to win market share away from their far larger rivals, AT&T and Verizon.

Historically, customers have gotten as much as hundreds of dollars in savings on a new phone in exchange for signing a two-year contract. It was T-Mobile that, starting in 2013, led the move away from such contracts and subsidies, with all the major carriers now offering at least the option of paying full price in exchange for lower monthly fees.

Score is available to both traditional postpaid customers as well as those on monthly prepaid plans.

This article originally appeared on

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