T-Mobile is giving customers a literal stake in the company

These customers are about to become John Legere’s new bosses.
These customers are about to become John Legere’s new bosses.
Image: AP Images for T-Mobile/Jordan Strauss
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T-Mobile wants customers to be invested in its future, so it’s giving them a literal stake in the business.

Each year, the Seattle, Washington-based carrier hosts “un-carrier” events where it makes big announcements. Last November, it said it would stop counting video streams against customer data plans. And, before that, it announced a new plan for business customers.

This time, instead of adding features or improving rate plans, the US wireless carrier—the nation’s third largest—said on Monday (June 6) that it would reward voice customers for their loyalty with shares of T-Mobile common stock. As part of the program, dubbed “Stock Up,” primary account holders of each existing “post-paid” consumer voice account—those that are billed monthly—will receive one free share of common stock in T-Mobile, which was worth $43.56 on the morning of the announcement.

The move comes after three years of strong growth at T-Mobile, which reached $32 billion in revenue in 2015. It’s been a noisy presence in the previously staid wireless business, becoming the third largest US wireless carrier—edging out Sprint—last year.

Customers have from June 7 until June 21, 2016 to redeem their first shares, which they can do through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app or website, according to the prospectus. They will have to set up a free brokerage account with T-Mobile partner Loyal3. T-Mobile said there will be no fees to get or sell the shares through 2017, as well as no fees for maintaining the brokerage account for as long as the customers keep their T-Mobile accounts active. Customers can hold, transfer, and sell the shares as they please.

New customers who sign up for post-paid consumer voice subscriptions will also be offered one share of T-Mobile stock. And qualified customers can earn additional shares—up to 100 per year—for referring friends to the carrier. Through the end of the year, customers whose T-Mobile accounts are five or more years old will get two shares for each referral who signs up for an account that’s active for at least 15 days. Other customers will receive one share for each successful referral, under the same terms.

T-Mobile told Quartz it did not have to issue additional stock as part of the offering, and that the shares are being bought on the open market.

The stock-reward program is part of a larger promotional effort. Through a new app, called T-Mobile Tuesdays, customers can redeem free giveaways from partners like Domino’s, Wendy’s, Vudu, and Lyft each week, as well as special weekly giveaways such as tickets to Warcraft, the movie, starting tomorrow. They can also play for a chance to win larger prizes, like a trip to Machu Picchu, Peru, each week.

Additionally, T-Mobile said it will offer customers expanded in-flight perks including one-hour of free wifi on domestic Gogo-enabled flights.