On Friday AT&T began offering a new deal to win customers from T-Mobile: up to $450 if they switch carriers and trade in their handset. This evening in a statement T-Mobile CEO John Legere called the new AT&T plan "a desperate move" and even taunted the company, explaining how T-Mobile spent AT&T's cash that AT&T ultimately had for forfeit after the federal government stopped a merger between the two companies in 2011.
The full statement follows:
This is a desperate move by AT&T on the heels of what must have been a terrible Q4 and holiday for them. I'm flattered that we have made them so uncomfortable! We used AT&T's cash to build a far superior network and added Un-carrier moves to take tons of their customers - and now they want to bribe them back! Consumers won't be fooled...nothing has changed; customers will still feel the same old pain that AT&T is famous for. Just wait until CES to hear what pain points we are eliminating next. The competition is going to be toast!
T-Mobile aggressively sought to win new customers in 2013 by positioning itself as the "Uncarrier," doing away with long-term contracts and cell phone subsidies. By the end of the year the new strategy appeared to be working, with T-Mobile reversing quarterly losses and adding new customers.
Legere comment about what will happen at next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is a tease; he offered no details, so we'll have to wait until next week to find out more. But if TmoNews is any indication, it may be another compelling monetary incentive for customers looking for greener pastures. The blog recently reported that T-Mobile plans to offer up to $350 credit to customers who break their contracts with other carriers, partly by offering to pay their early termination fees.
T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom is rumored to be in talks with Softbank-owned Sprint and possible also Dish Network for acquisition of T-Mobile, the nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier. Either way, it's unlikely that there will be any news on that front until spring. Regardless of those plans, it's good to see T-Mobile staying scrappy and continuing to do its part to disrupt the American wireless market, which has been in desperate need of a shakeup.