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…