Technical glitches marred the rollout of T-Mobile’s new rewards program on Tuesday, preventing many customers from getting the free pizzas and other gifts that the company had promised them. But T-Mobile pledged to fix the problems with its app and overloaded servers so that customers could claim their freebies.
“Still seeing huge #TMobileTuesdays app volume, but we’re making good! You won’t lose anything and we’ll make this right ASAP,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere told his 2.6 million followers on Twitter.
The CEO’s missive followed a rare barrage of criticism for T-Mobile on Twitter, a medium that Legere has used to great advantage in building the fastest-growing U.S. mobile service over the past three years.
“Not impressed with this app at all! How did you not realize there would be overload! #nolovefromTmobile,” wrote one unhappy customer. “Customers are not feeling the love #fail,” wrote another. Some customers did appear to get their free pizzas, posting pictures of completed transactions.
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The free pizza from Domino’s, along with a free shake and a free movie, was supposed to kick off the 11th promotion in Legere’s “Uncarrier” strategy, which has successfully differentiated T-Mobile from competitors AT&T (T), Verizon Communications (VZ), and Sprint (S). Prior Uncarrier promotions have included free international roaming in many countries and unlimited mobile viewing of popular streaming video and music apps.
Legere unveiled the new program on Monday. Customers had to download a new T-Mobile app to their phones, which was supposed to let them place an order for a free medium pizza with two toppings, among other gifts. But for many, the app returned an error message that said: “This is awkward…It’s not your fault though. There was an error attempting to contact the server. Try refreshing the page.”
The free offers, which also include one share of T-Mobile (TMUS) stock and one hour of free Internet access per domestic air flight via the GoGo airplane-based service, are intended to reward customers without requiring them to sign up for a typical loyalty program, collect points and eventually receive gifts, T-Mobile executives explained on Monday.
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“In this case, we were inspired by what we saw out there in loyalty programs,” Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s chief operating officer tells Fortune. “They are all basically a scam.”