If you’re a T-Mobile subscriber on one of the company’s Magenta or Magenta Max unlimited data plans, you’re going to be getting access to Apple TV+ for free, for a whole year, starting August 25. Unlike some other bonus offers, this one isn’t just being used as a way to lure new subscribers to T-Mobile (though clearly, it could do that as well).
T-Mobile customers on the company’s Magenta 55+, Magenta Military, Magenta First Responders, Sprint Unlimited Plus, Sprint Premium, and T-Mobile for Small Business Customers plans all get in on the free Apple TV+ action. Better yet, it doesn’t matter if you’re currently on a free trial for Apple TV+ or if you’re already paying for the streaming video service. Those in the midst of a free trial will see their trial period extended by 12 months, while paid plans will be put on a payment holiday for the duration of the free year.
It’s not the first time T-Mobile has provided special offers on streaming services for its customers. Previous and ongoing programs include Netflix on Us, plus discounts on YouTube TV and Philo.
What’s curious about the Apple TV+ freebie for T-Mobile is that it’s not tied to Apple hardware. In the past, Apple itself has given away a year’s worth of Apple TV+ to anyone who purchases a new Apple device, although these trial periods have been getting shorter recently. That has always made sense: Apple TV+ doesn’t have the catalog size to compete with Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime Video, so using it as a small perk when you buy an Apple product kills two birds with one stone — you sell some hardware and you give people an easy and free way to check out what Apple TV+ has to offer.
But the T-Mobile offer isn’t tied to hardware sales, which could mean that Apple is looking for additional ways to ramp up its subscriber base. The company doesn’t share how many subscribers Apple TV+ has (it gets lumped into Apple’s total universe of services subscribers, which was recently pegged at more than 700 million), but a report released at the beginning of 2021 suggests that a majority of those folks (62%) are on some kind of unpaid trial. The report also said that 29% of those free-trial members had no plans to start paying when their trial period had ended.
This suggests that it’s now a numbers game. The more free trials Apple can give away, the more folks will stick around and start paying the current $5 per month subscription for Apple TV+. Apple’s service may never overcome the massive lead held by the big players, but it has a unique — if relatively small — lineup of movies and shows. If titles like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, and For All Mankind are going to become must-see shows (and thus a reason to subscribe). Apple is going to need more folks telling their friends and family members how good they are. Giving millions of T-Mobile customers free access to the service seems like a pretty good way to make that happen.