U.S. Cellular has launched a new service plan today that makes the sixth largest carrier much more like an airline.
Under the new plan, consumers earn points that can then be redeemed for early phone upgrades and other perks. The idea is counterintuitive to the way most cellular operators work today, which typically lock in customers by selling them a subsidized handsets.
The carrier is calling it “The Belief Project,” and although it is still a work in progress, it is refreshing to see that there’s still some new approaches to take in the industry, besides rewriting contracts that lock customers into various sized buckets of minutes and megabytes. It officially launches tomorrow.
Here’s how some of plan works:
— No Contract After the First One: New customers who fulfill an initial two-year contract never have to sign a contract again. After that, customers are free to get a new phone at promotional prices every 18 months, or more often if they cash in points.
— Belief Rewards: Postpaid customers can redeem points for early phone upgrades at promotional prices, additional lines, phones, accessories, ringtones and forgiveness of overage charges. Points are earned based on a customer’s plan, the number of lines on the account and how long they