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T-Mobile Adds Free Hulu to Its Bizarre Strategy of Luring AT&T Customers With DirecTV Now


Some T-Mobile customers will be receiving one full free year of the streaming TV service Hulu—a service worth nearly $100—thanks to a bizarre new offer from the wireless provider.

T-Mobile says the deal is a way to make good to new customers who switched from AT&T to take advantage of a recent special promotion offering one free year of the new streaming service DirecTV Now. That may sound strange because DirecTV and DirecTV Now are, in fact, both owned by T-Mobile competitor AT&T, but T-Mobile is known for odd and unconventional marketing strategies. The original offer, announced in mid-December, promised that AT&T customers who switched to T-Mobile would get a $35 monthly credit to cover the costs of DirecTV Now’s base 100-channel service.

The problem, as this week’s T-Mobile press release explained, is that DirecTV Now has been “sluggish, buggy and sometimes broken,” to quote one prominent review.

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So now, anyone who was tempted to switch from AT&T to T-Mobile and get a year of free DirecTV Now in the process will receive a free year of the $7.99/month Hulu service as well. It’s unclear how many customers will be able to take advantage of the offer. Customers who are eligible for free Hulu from T-Mobile will receive notification via email soon, if they haven’t already.

For T-Mobile, the announcement is a way to appease new customers frustrated with glitchy DirecTV service while simultaneously insulting and embarrassing its bitter rival, AT&T.

“It turns out DirecTV Now is barely watchable, but we’ve got our customers’ backs! So, every former AT&T customer who took us up on our offer now gets a free year of Hulu on us,” John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, said in the press release. “Even I can’t believe AT&T spent $67 billion on DirecTV and still couldn’t roll out a streaming service that worked!”

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One more part of this strange back-and-forth saga should be noted: Until very recently, of course, T-Mobile was pumping up free DirecTV Now as a prime reason why wireless customers should switch over from AT&T.

Our advice is to forget about short-lived promotions and choose your wireless provider based simply on what’s the best value and makes the most sense for your usage. And hey, if you want to check out Hulu or DirecTV without paying for them, you don’t have to switch to T-Mobile. All new customers can take advantage of a free 30-day trial for each service.

This story was originally published on Money.