T-Mobile Writes The Best Press Release You'll Ever See From A Phone Company

from the someone-had-some-fun dept

Our general rule is that we ignore press releases, because they’re fake news. People still send them to us sometimes, but I’ve got a pretty good email filter that filters them right into the trash. Every so often there’s an interesting press release, but it’s rare. It’s even rarer from a large company. Rarer still: an interesting press release from a telco. And yet, here’s T-Mobile with what may be the best press release you’ll ever see from a phone company, outright ridiculing AT&T’s plan to offer T-Mobile customers $450 to switch to AT&T. To be fair, T-Mobile, which has basically been the also-ran of the mobile world for years, has decided in the past year or so that the best strategy to change that is to basically do pretty much everything differently than mobile operators have done in the past, bucking lots of trends with concepts that are actually (gasp!) consumer friendly. It’s kind of shocking to see a phone company come to the conclusion that, hey, perhaps treating customers right is a competitive advantage, but it does appear that T-Mobile has (to some extent) embraced that concept.

And then there’s this press release. At the beginning of January, AT&T directly began offering T-Mobile users $450 to switch. Apparently the company has realized that if it can’t buy T-Mobile directly, it might as well just buy its customers. Now, most companies when targeted by a larger competitor in this manner might sort through a variety of responses, and I’m sure at some point, perhaps late at night under the influence of an extra alcoholic beverage or two, someone might suggest the following. But to actually go ahead with it… well… that’s a bit bold. In short, T-Mobile flips the offer on its head, noting that since it only applies to T-Mobile users, AT&T users now have a “risk free” way to test out T-Mobile — and they throw in hilarious fake quotes from AT&T Mobility’s CEO, Ralph de la Vega, mock the “death star” and a variety of other things you don’t normally see in a telco press release — such as comparing de la Vega to Darth Vader.

T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today announced that pretty much everyone at the company is overcome with emotion and still kind of processing the decision by now-ex-rival AT&T to leave the dark side, step into the light, and join hands in supporting the Un-carrier consumer revolution.

“Call it an awakening,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, “but I felt it was time to really stir things up and put the customer first for a change. And by “customer” I’m referring to our former customers who switch to T-Mobile, because our current customers don’t really qualify.” De la Vega said that the new T-Mobile switching offer was custom designed to entice its millions of contract customers to go ahead and give T-Mobile a try. “If for any reason you don’t love T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, which is now faster than ours[i], we’ll actually pay you up to $450 to come back to AT&T, I kid you not.”

Ok, De La Vega didn’t actually say that, but he might as well have. Thanks to AT&T’s apparent change-of-heart and incredibly generous $450 T-Mobile customer buy-back campaign, insane numbers of its very own customers and even families of AT&T employees are enjoying a risk-free, zero-cost opportunity to switch to the Un-carrier. If customers making the switch are not completely satisfied with T-Mobile and its state-of-the-art nationwide 4G LTE network (now fastest in the U.S.)i, AT&T will cover the costs for customers switching back to their own slower network, up to $450 with trade-in[ii]. Details of the new AT&T offer can be found at att.com/att/switcherpromo.

“Wow. I mean … wow,” breathed John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “I guess we all have moments of doubt. You know? Like, can the darkness ever be defeated? But that they’ve singled us out in this way is just so affirming. I guess we must be doing something right. I mean, if AT&T can change, it feels like anything’s possible.

“It’s kind of like that scene where Darth Vader’s lying there and Luke helps take off his helmet,” Legere continued, “and you see that, okay, sure, Darth Vader’s pretty ugly, but he’s human after all.”

[….] “Somebody pinch me,” said Mike Sievert, Chief Marketing Officer. “By offering a risk-free way for their millions of customers to come over to T-Mobile – AT&T has helped put this Un-carrier consumer movement into overdrive. At T-Mobile we stand for Contract Freedom, and I want to thank our friends at AT&T for helping us liberate their former customers. This isn’t just about switching offers — it’s about T-Mobile giving customers the service, the network, and the wireless experience they deserve, without having to worry when they switch.”

Sievert noted that AT&T’s recent full-page ad in The New York Times had signaled a real turning point in his mind – that the former industry rival had truly stepped out of the darkness and was seeking to mend its ways and support the Un-carrier consumer movement.

“I mean, a full page ad in The New York Times,” said Sievert. “That says commitment to me.”

Yes, T-Mobile also uses the press release to pitch its own deal for mobile phone users to switch to T-Mobile, but this is quite a press release. If other companies actually did press releases like this, I might have to actually adjust my email filters…

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Companies: at&t, t-mobile

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Comments on “T-Mobile Writes The Best Press Release You'll Ever See From A Phone Company”

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85 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

My first thought was how the fuck did nobody at AT&T see that it could quickly escalate into the negative side? I mean if I see some company throwing money at me to go for them I’ll be wary that there may be entrapments somewhere or contractual stunts to say the least. The worst would be plain out assuming the company is so damn bad at their business that they need to resort to giving money so people will go try them. Add such awesome press release (and hopefully a mocking ad campaign) and you have full blown marketing disaster for AT&T!

The best promotion is to offer what the consumer wants at affordable prices. Simple as that.

The question whether T can deliver the experience remains to be answered by people with more contact with the telco than me…

Anonymous Howard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You underestimate the stupidity and greed of people.
The same people who get themselves trampled on black fridays. Who collect coupons and buy useless stuff because it’s on sale etc etc.

Think of how stupid the average person is, and then this: half of the people is dumber then the average.

We’ll see if it’s really works out as you think, or as lord vader thinks.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Think of how stupid the average person is, and then this: half of the people is dumber then the average.

The main question I see here is how high the ratio of people may be who don’t understand enough of statistics to comprehend the difference between average and median but are still confident enough to pretend otherwise.

Spointman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Interesting. Many years ago, I remember being taught that in statistics, “average” is a generic term that can refer to the mean, the median, or the mode. Depending on what you’re analyzing, any of the three could be the “average” representation of your data. In common parlance, “average” almost always means the mean, though.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Average vs Median

If the distribution of intelligence is supposed to be normal and the mean is 100, then an IQ of 150 would be just as likely as one of 50, and an IQ of 200 would be just as likely as one of 0, and one of 220 just as likely as one of -20.

I am less than convinced. Since I don’t consider it likely that the definition of IQ allows for negative values, the distribution is more likely to be lognormal or something else, but not a symmetrical distribution in the range (-∞,∞).

colidog (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Average vs Median

“If the distribution of intelligence is supposed to be normal and the mean is 100, then an IQ of 150 would be just as likely as one of 50, and an IQ of 200 would be just as likely as one of 0, and one of 220 just as likely as one of -20.”

What? Except anything outside of 145 and 55 on a cog battery is beyond 3 SD and is so rare that it doesn’t really have an effect. Cognitive assessments are normed on such a massive data set that, as others have mentioned, the average is essentially the same as the median. Just like any large data set that fits under a normal curve.

Source: This is my job

Anonymous Howard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
-George Carlin

So no, it’s “is”.

And Mitchell, you’re free to think whatever you want. Here’s another quote for you:
Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Not just for that reason.

It will help with comprehension. If I am offended by something you say, seeing that English is not your native language, it may give me pause to consider exactly what it is you are trying to say. Maybe I see that it was not your intent to offend and/or I can ask for clarification on what you meant.

sambo says:

Re: average intelligence

I actually saw some guy once argue that we should feel sorry for stupid people, for as scarily you point out, 50% of the population is below average intelligence.

Given the very small numbers that become politicians and/or CEO’s, I am guessing that their ration numbers are even more skewed towards dumbness…

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: average intelligence

“50% of the population is below average intelligence.”

It’s the old joke: you know how dumb the average person is? Well, half of everybody is even dumber than that.

But, putting on my pedant hat, that’s not exactly so. It’s confusing the average with the median! Also, it’s a meaningless thing to say — an IQ of 100 is the average by definition. People with an IQ of 100 now may or may not have the same level of intelligence as people with an IQ of 100 a hundred years ago, or a hundred years into the future. The “amount” of intelligence it represents changes to match the average. Also, it’s so difficult to measure (or even define) intelligence that talking about it without a context is fundamentally meaningless. There are many kinds of intelligence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: average intelligence

It’s confusing the average with the median!

Exactly what I was gonna say.

Also, it’s a meaningless thing to say — an IQ of 100 is the average by definition.

Now, let’s not confuse IQ with intelligence.

But, for the sake of discussion, if we were going to do that, isn’t the measurement of IQ fit to a Normal Distribution? In that case, the Median IQ is the same as the Average IQ, and so it is true that half the population is indeed below average IQ.

Though, again, that doesn’t necessarily mean actual intelligence, by any definition more comprehensive than simply “IQ” fits the same distribution.

Tedward says:

Re: Re: TMobile

Except for the 24 month contract you have to sign for the phone. Granted, you can provide your own phone, but for an LTE capable device, used (first one T-Mobile carried was the S3), you’re still probably paying about $200, and if I was an enterprising person who had one, I would drive that price up. Something new that’s going to be technologically relevant for the next three, four years will still, when the dust settles, end up costing you $600-700. An iPhone (T-Mobile carries and only supports the 5, 5S, and 5C. Others will work, but only on Edge data) is going to be at least $700. So you’re still locked in, and if you’re not, you’re likely using a device that will be obsolete in the next year. With your phone payments and service charge, you’re looking at per month charges right in the Verizon neighborhood, more if you’re tacking on unlimited data ($20 per line) and jump for upgrades every 6 months and phone protection ($10 per line). T-Mobile is marketing nickel-and-diming like pros.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: TMobile

Do many people actually upgrade their phone every 6 months? That’s crazy. Phones hardly become obsolete in a year. I’ve had my current phone for two years, and it’s still nowhere near obsolete. And phone protection? I assume people who buy that are also people who buy extended warranties, so they’re not terribly concerned with costs.

In any case, the economics still don’t work in favor of buying a phone over time from the cell provider. You’ll be paying far more than what you would have paid if you just bought the phone outright from the manufacturer.

Violynne (profile) says:

Re: TMobile

Not if you buy your phone outright. If you do this, there’s no way the price of T-Mobile is higher.

Of course, this is the string that’s attached to T-Mobiles buyout plan: most people will opt for a newer phone, which they make payments on for 24 months, which increases the bill.

Get a lower-gen model phone, and this is a pretty good deal.

It’s just a crock that it took someone until 2014 to actually implement it.

Mike says:

Re: Re: TMobile

> I was able to bring in my own phone

I think this is the key. If you’re starting new OR you have an older phone, T-Mobile is more expensive. As structured, you end up paying full retail price even for phones like the Galaxy S4 over two years, which could be acquired from Best Buy / Amazon for a cent on sale not so long ago — it might be $50 now. So you might as well take the subsidy from Verizon built into the contract and pay less overall during the first two years. If the phone you acquire is decent enough, it probably makes sense to switch to T-Mobile at the end of the subsidy. (Also, the issue is magnified with multiple lines)

The economics clearly don’t work out to start with T-Mobile. Even the “we’ll pay your early termination fee” offer sucks when you realize that you now have to buy a phone from them. So you might as well wait out the subsidy and bring your phone.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: TMobile

I think this is the key. If you’re starting new OR you have an older phone, T-Mobile is more expensive.

I bought my phone from Amazon, at a significantly cheaper price than what T-Mobile or Best Buy wanted for the phone, and had no problem bringing it in to T-Mobile. I already was using them for a data card so I already had an account. The only problem is that AT&T phones and T-Mobile phones aren’t entirely compatible, so you have to be real careful to buy a phone that is compatible with T-Mobile (they use different frequencies for their high speed data, but the phone and 2G frequencies are shared.)

If the phone you acquire is decent enough, it probably makes sense to switch to T-Mobile at the end of the subsidy.

It is NEVER cheaper to buy the phone, either on subsidy or otherwise, directly from the vendor. This is basic capitalism. When dealing with a monopoly, you will lose every time.

The economics clearly don’t work out to start with T-Mobile.

I disagree. The cost of their service is half of what I paid for AT&T. I had a bill for one phone, discounted through my employer, for $130 a month (for 4GB of data, voice and text.) I am now paying exactly the same for a cell phone (unlimited everything* – but they do cap high speed, though I’ve never seen it) AND a data device (4.5GB per month.) Several surveys have shown that the average price for T-Mobile is below AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

I don’t have anything to do with T-Mobile other than being their customer (and I have contracts with their competitors too,) and I’ve been quite happy with them.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: TMobile

I happily pay a premium to avoid being locked into one of those awful service contracts. There are costs involved beyond actual money — and even in terms of actual money, you’ll usually come out paying less if you avoid the contract even if you buy a new phone at full price.

But in my area, T-Mobile’s service is just awful. It’s a nonstarter.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: TMobile

If you’re starting new OR you have an older phone, T-Mobile is more expensive.

You have it backwards. T-Mobile is cheaper on a monthly basis precisely because you can bring your own phone. If you get a phone through them, then the price for their unlimited data plan is about at Verizon’s level.

e.g.
Verizon – Bring a phone: $80
Verizon – Subsidized phone: $80

T-Mobile – Bring a phone: $60
T-Mobile – Subsidized phone: $80

I brought my own phone, so I pay less per month than Verizon.

artp (profile) says:

In other news

iWireless, the regional carrier in Iowa, switched last year to no contract. You can get a phone whenever you want, and pay for it outright or pay for it over two years. It can be paid off at any time. Insurance is still available. I get to decide which phone to get and when to get it. You can bring your own phone in, but then you have to make sure it works with their network, whatever that means.

iWireless uses T-Mobile for roaming. The momentum is building, but very, very slowly.

And iWireless is a GSM carrier. SIM cards are awesome. YMMV.

Erik Grant says:

Brilliant marketing aside, I’m not sure how AT&T’s program is any different than T-Mobile’s. I mean, they can’t really change the narrative at this point, but it could just have easily been AT&T saying “Hey, T-Mobile is offering all of it’s customers the chance to switch!”. I just wanted to point that out to all of the “omg AT&T is so greedy they are stupid and missed this” commenters I’ve seen.

It is nice to finally see some real competition in the telco space though. I was apathetic about the T-Mobile merger being blocked a few years back, now I’m ecstatic. Whoever starts offering true unlimited data again is probably going to get my business, just so I can get off my grandfathered Verizon plan.

Namel3ss (profile) says:

T-Mobile >>> ATT

I switched to T-Mo last year after putting up with AT&T’s bullshit for years. T-Mo for me is cheaper, their data plan is better, and overall they’re not asshats like ATT. Those are all wins in my book.

Then they rolled out unlimited international roaming text & data and I was even more glad I switched.

The only downside is their coverage is not quite as good. But for me it’s good enough. If they had ATT’s coverage with their increasingly customer-friendly attitude, they’d mop the floor with ATT.

Regardless, ATT can still suck it.

tracker1 (profile) says:

Re: T-Mobile >>> ATT

I have to completely agree here… I was with AT&T back in the early 00’s, and had such a horrible experience with them, you couldn’t pay me to use them again. At one point, they actually called me and offered to upgrade in the middle of a billing cycle on a family plan that was going to go over the allotted minutes. ($10 more a month is a lot less than overage charges)

I’m currently using Simple Mobile (an MVNO that uses T-Mobile)… the only thing I miss is the conditional call forwarding, but T-Mobile pre-pay doesn’t offer it either, only their subsidized accounts.

I’ve also been buying my cell phones outright for a few years now… T-Mobile is much more transparent than most of the other carriers on pricing, and really doesn’t gouge like the others.

I’m currently using a Nexus 4, and after 2 years of use, the end of this year, and using an mvno, I’ll have saved $720 on the cost of service, more than paying for the phone, and that’s just comparing to T-Mobile’s subsidized pricing, not to mention AT&T or Verizon. I will say when I travel a couple times a year, I wouldn’t mind having Verizon’s coverage, but prefer a GSM carrier.

Anonymous Coward says:

IQ =/ intelligence

IQ = the ability to complete a written test devised by a fallible human being and thats it.

There are MANY types of intelligence from creative to analytical and a single IQ test may make some people shine but others not.

Professor gets 160 IQ but the guy round the corner capable of dismantling a car and re-assembling every single component from memory and repairing any and all faults scores only 90….

Who’s the best one to have when your car breaks down in the snow?

Jonathan says:

AT&T couldn't pay me enough

to switch to their crappy metered plans and locked-down hardware. After their collaboration with intelligence agencies, their successful pushes to get retroactive immunity for divulging customer info without legal authorization, I see no moral reason to treat the company’s “right” to property or existence with any respect whatsoever.

Sheogorath (profile) says:

"T-Mobile Writes The Best Press Release You'll Ever See From A Phone Company"

Just a shame they now have the worst signal of any UK mobile network company. I tell you right now, if 3 had a similar offer to that of T-Mobile before they cut the ‘fair’-usage policy in half (?20 nets you six months of unlimited data, fair-usage policy of 1GB, hit the gig and get slowed down so downloading and streaming are mondo hard), then I would switch to them in a heartbeat.

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