U.S. mobile operator likens tax-back smartphone offer to Boston Tea Party.

In its latest headline-grabbing move, T-Mobile US on Monday announced that it will pay the sales tax on new smartphones bought by its highest-spending customers.

The operator revealed that customers with unlimited high-speed data can recoup a chunk of the cost of any new smartphone it sells in a new offer that will begin on 1 February and will run for "a limited time."

To participate, customers must buy a new smartphone under T-Mobile’s instalment plan and apply online for a tax rebate of 11.2% of the purchase price, paid via a prepaid Mastercard. That amount will more than cover the sales tax and could be worth in excess of $100 per device, the telco said.

Meanwhile, customers switching to T-Mobile ONE can receive a second rebate of $150, payable in the same way.

"You know the old saying about death and taxes? We’re taking on taxes first," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said, in a typically ebullient statement.

The telco likened the new offer to the Boston Tea Party, an 18th-century protest against the British government’s move to push the duty-free export of tea to the American colonies.

It might well attract the interest of customers and potential customers, but chances of it writing its way into the history books seem slim at best.