T-Mobile is rolling out some new weapons in its competitive arsenal, including some new discounts on wireless service for service members and their families, investing more than half a billion dollars in its network capacity on and around military installations, and hiring more veterans and spouses.

Beginning April 22, service members (including active, Guard and reserve), retirees and other veterans, and Gold Star families can sign up for the T-Mobile ONE Military program and save.

The plan includes a 20 percent discount on the first phone line ($55, down from $70) and half off each line after that: $25 for a second line, $10 for lines three through six. Taxes and fees are included in those prices; a family of four would pay $100 a month for wireless service.

The service member or veteran must be the primary account holder, and must sign up for an automatic payment plan, for the family to qualify. If the service member is deployed, the wireless service will work through a family member to set up and verify the discount.

Proof of service is required; for veterans without a military identification card, T-Mobile will accept other verification, including a DD-214.

The discount also will be available to veteran-owned businesses.

Interested customers can get the discount at any T-Mobile store, including wireless service concessionaires on 119 military bases, or call 1-800-TMobile (1-800-866-2453).

“This is the biggest discount we’ve ever offered on T-Mobile One, our flagship offering,” said Mike Sievert, chief operating officer for T-Mobile. “We think it solves a major untapped need in the market.”

Sievert said T-Mobile aims to “better serve the military community. We believe the wireless industry generally has not been doing enough and that we can do better.”

The new discount isn’t temporary — “We’re here to stay,” Sievert said. Military customers also can get 50 percent off some Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S9 and S9+, via bill credits during the month of May.

T-Mobile One Military includes everything in the T-Mobile One plan, such as unlimited text and data roaming and flat-rate calling in more than 140 countries; free calling and texting to and from Canada and Mexico; free Netflix Standard to watch on your TV, smartphone, table or other device, while on the family plan; and other features.

In addition to the discount, T-Mobile has committed more than half a billion dollars this year to expand long-term evolution, or LTE, high-speed capacity and lay the foundation for a 5G network around U.S. military installations and communities.

T-Mobile also has committed to recruit and hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years. There are more than 5,000 T-Mobile locations across the U.S.

In 2016, the carrier committed to hiring 5,000 veterans and spouses within five years; it has about 5,000 at present, with about 2,000 of those hired within the last two years.

Sievert described veterans and spouses as a “fantastic talent pool,” and said they represent some of the company’s top employees.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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