With Rollover Data, AT&T Just Keeps Walking Face First Into T-Mobile Attempts To Make It Look Stupid
from the faking-it dept
We’ve noted more than a few times how T-Mobile has been slowly improving the wireless industry by doing something outrageous: giving customers things they actually want. So far that’s included unlimited data options at a time when the bigger carriers have embraced caps and steep overages — and a move away from the old subsidized handset model, where users can now often buy handsets outright or subsidize them over payment plans. While some of the actual pricing promotions have been cosmetic in nature, there’s no doubt that T-Mobile’s consumer-friendly policies and wise ass CEO have been a great thing for the industry.
The latest example of T-Mobile disruption is its recent introduction of roll over data, a common sense approach that lets users store their unused monthly data allotments for future use in what T-Mobile calls a “Data Stash.” It’s certainly not a revolutionary idea, and it’s not even original in the last month (a Southern wireless provider named C Spire offered the option a week or two before T-Mobile), but in a wireless industry dominated by just two players, we’re at the point where god-damned common sense is the very height of innovative disruption.
Enter AT&T, bloated and groggy from decades of regulatory capture and unfamiliar with real competition (despite what groups like the CTIA claim). AT&T’s been quietly admitting it’s starting to feel the pinch from T-Mobile’s shenanigans, which is of course precisely why AT&T tried to acquire and eliminate T-Mobile several years ago, and why regulators stepped in to block it.
Now forced to at least pretend to compete, AT&T this week introduced its own roll over data program, though in traditional ham-fisted AT&T fashion it has more than a little fine print. Unlike T-Mobile’s plan that lets you store unused data bytes and bits for up to a year, AT&T lets you store your roll over data for all of one month. Worse perhaps, before you can even use your rolled-over data you have to first burn through your primary data allotment. Meanwhile, much like it did when AT&T pretended its very limited 1 Gbps offerings in Austin wasn’t an obvious response to Google Fiber, AT&T is busy telling some reporters that this me-too effort (a poor one at that) has nothing whatsoever to do with T-Mobile.
It’s another example of AT&T trying to fake and head bob its way past competition, in the process walking face first into T-Mobile’s attempts to make the company look stupid. Amusingly, in an end of 2014 prediction blog post, T-Mobile CEO John Legere found it pretty easy to predict AT&T’s behavior:
“AT&T will find new ways to cause their customers pain – especially those still on grandfathered unlimited plans. Just to squeeze more money out of them. (Meanwhile, we?ll keep embracing unlimited.) I?m also betting AT&T will introduce a weak Data Stash? knock off ? but the fine print will be massive, and they?ll miss the first and most important step in the process ? which is to stop punishing their customers with domestic overages and instead get rid of them.”
Again making AT&T look bad isn’t hard, since AT&T is the one doing most of the heavy lifting. Legere quickly took to Twitter to mock AT&T for its efforts, in turn scoring even more PR points among consumers annoyed by AT&T and Verizon:
Only day 7 of 2015 and my predictions are coming true! Want to bet they won't give you 10GB to start or end overages? http://t.co/MyTQvGDU5l
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) January 7, 2015