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T-Mobile will ignore bad credit if you pay your bill on time for a year

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Get the same zero-down deals as someone with a perfect credit score

T-Mobile today announced a new initiative it's calling "Smartphone Equality" which, in the words of CEO John Legere, "puts the relationships we’ve built with loyal customers above their credit scores." Legere says that many consumers don't get access to attractive, zero-down financing offers thanks to an imperfect credit history. (And the option of financing a phone is particularly important when you're under a carrier that no longer offers two-year contracts in the traditional sense.) "We've been part of the problem, too," Legere wrote in a blog post. "But no more."

With Smartphone Equality, T-Mobile claims it will offer its very best deals to customers who've paid their wireless bill on time for 12 consecutive months. "The simple truth is that our relationship with that customer is actually a better predictor of future behavior than their credit history," Legere wrote in a blog post. The issues and frustrations with credit apparently fired up T-Mobile's outspoken CEO so much that he decided to record his first video message accompanying one of the carrier's press releases.

Smartphone Equality applies to both prepaid and postpaid customers, and if you've already paid on time for a full year, you'll qualify immediately. Once that requirement is met, T-Mobile says customers will "get treated the same as someone with great credit." You'll be eligible for the same zero-down, no interest deals that were previously available only to buyers with strong credit. The new policy goes into effect starting next week.