T-Mobile doesn't want bad credit scores to prevent customers from getting the best deals on its smartphones anymore.
Starting Sunday, the wireless carrier is launching "Smartphone Equality," a program that gives all customers a way to get offers previously available only to those with great credit.
The idea came about after T-Mobile store associates noticed too many people coming in for promotions, only to find out that they didn't meet the "well-qualified customers" fine print.
"It was a classic case of bait and switch," said Dave Carey, executive vice president of corporate services. "Not intentional necessarily, but that was the effect of it."
T-Mobile estimated that half of Americans were automatically excluded from its offers because of bad credit scores.
With Smartphone Equality, customers qualify by paying for their wireless service on time for 12 consecutive months. After that, they can get the company's best device pricing and financing -- including $0 down on smartphones with no interest and no credit check.
Existing customers get immediate credit for their relationship with T-Mobile, meaning many will already be eligible when the program begins this weekend.
T-Mobile said it believes the program will be a revenue driver because it will enable more customers to buy more expensive devices, and it will strengthen its relationships with customers because they will be rewarded for good payment history.
"This isn't just the right thing to do, it's good business," Chief Executive John Legere said in a video blog post announcing the move.
Shares of T-Mobile were little changed on Thursday morning.