T-Mobile USA clearly aimed its Valentine’s Day free phone giveaway squarely at the Verizon iPhone. The limited-time offer runs from this coming Saturday and through Sunday, February 11-12, when you’re invited to waltz inside a T-Mobile store and pick any phone or smartphone – any – free of charge, provided you sign on a dotted line.

In other words, you won’t be paying for hardware if you’re willing to become a T-Mobile customer and sign a two-year contract for a qualifying plan. The giveaway includes the highest-end, prestigious Android superphones as well as devices from HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Nokia and Garmin.

It’s not like T-Mobile is doing this for the first time, but the timing is certainly eyebrow-raising. This morning the venerable Verizon iPhone went on sale for everyone.

Verizon, better than any carrier, has mastered the art of marketing with their two-for-one promotions. T-Mobile last year had a very successful offer that celebrated Father’s Day. It struck a chord with consumers, helping the Bellevue-based wireless provider sell millions of additional handsets. Matter of fact, the Father’s Day promotion went down in T-Mobile history as their best sales day ever in America. T-Mobile in an attempt to counter the Verizon iPhone announcement aired a morale-boosting commercial which portrayed AT&T and Verizon Wireless as a duopoly and lampooned their network performance.

T-Mobile USA is the fourth largest wireless provider in the United States, with 33.8 million subscribers as of the end of the third quarter of 2010 and annual revenue of $21.53 billion for their 2009 fiscal year. The carrier has been making a lot of noise recently about its fourth-generation HSPA+ cellular network which is currently available in about a hundred metropolitan markets. Plans to double the speed of 4G HSPA+ network this year have been put in motion as T-Mobile USA expects that 140 million people in 25 major metropolitan areas will have access to these increased 4G speeds by midyear. T-Mobile USA already offers a selection of 4G-enabled devices and said it would launch the new G-Slate tablet this Spring.

Source: T-Mobile USA