T-Mobile is trying to make it easier to buy a high-end smartphone, even without a subsidy.
The wireless carrier on Sunday came out with a new program called "Score" that could let its customers unlock deals on every smartphone the company sells.
Here's how it works: T-Mobile customers can join the new program by paying $5 a month. After six months, users can upgrade to an entry-level smartphone for free. Or wait 12 months, and the carrier will provide discounts for all its smartphones.
The program is a way for T-Mobile to trim the cost of some of the most popular smartphones, like the iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy Note 4, following its move to do away with the two-year contract and the subsidies that come with it. A basic iPhone 6 off-contract costs about $650.
"It's yet another breakthrough improvement over the old-school carriers' restrictive service contracts, hidden subsidy costs and slooooow upgrades," T-Mobile's often-outspoken CEO John Legere said in a statement.
T-Mobile has been introducing promotions, discounts and programs at a regular pace, as it's tried to lure back customers after years of falling behind the top two carriers, Verizon and AT&T. So far, the company has succeeded in bringing back users, though at a cost to profits. Still, it's not alone in its efforts. The wireless carrier world has been getting more competitive lately -- benefiting customers along the way -- with Sprint also working to offer cheaper service, and Verizon and AT&T working to provide more attractive plans.
In one of the most recent rounds of these promotion battles,a data rollover program in December, and then this month.
Right now, at the six-month mark, a Score user could upgrade to an Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 for free. T-Mobile said it usually sells that smartphone for $79. So the savings from using the Score program in this case would be about $49.
In another example provided by T-Mobile, a Score user could upgrade to a Samsung Galaxy S5 at $510 after 12 months, instead of the $610 full price. That equals a savings of $40, when factoring in the monthly cost of Score.