T-Mobile Fights iPhone with Free Phones

Third place carrier Sprint is introducing the mutant Kyocera dual-screen Android phone in a bid to offer the market something new and unique and capture some attention. And T-Mobile is once again offering free handsets with a two-year contract. The company successfully did this before but has timed the promotion to try and preempt some Verizon iPhone switchers.

According to the T-Mobile release: 

On Friday, February 11 and Saturday, February 12, all T-Mobile phones, even the fastest 4G smartphones running on America’s largest 4G network, will be offered for free at T-Mobile retail stores with qualifying plan on two-year contract. 

The company has also enlisted "New York Times best-selling author and TV personality Khloé Kardashian" to help promote the offer, which includes the following phones: 

  • myTouch 4G
  • HTC HD7 (Windows Phone)
  • G2 with Google
  • Samsung Vibrant

Picture 4

T-Mobile is the smallest of the four major US carriers, with about 34 million subscribers:

  1. AT&T: 95 million
  2. Verizon: 94 million 
  3. Sprint: 49 million
  4. T-Mobile: 34 million 

The company is stuck in fourth place. Giving away free smartphones is not really a growth strategy; it's more of a PR stunt that will generate a short-term spike in interest and subscriptions. Long term growth will require a combination of true 4G network investments, agressive data and voice pricing and access to the iPhone eventually. 

We'll see how well the "America's largest 4G network" claims went over in Q4 when the company reports earnings later this month.