AT&T vs. T-Mobile: Gloves are off, and they’re still swinging!


Rival businesses are naturally going to have a few words about their competitors; a few playful jabs here and there. But sometimes criticising strategies ends up with the hypothetical boxing gloves coming off – and the bare knuckles come out, to our entertainment.

For some history, let’s take a trip back to April 2012 when the FCC approved T-Mobile receiving $1 billion worth of spectrum from AT&T. Alongside this; AT&T had to give T-Mobile $3 billion in cash.

The gained spectrum was for use in 128 Cellular Market Areas (CMAs) including 12 of the top 20 markets, to launch LTE in 2013. At the time; Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s chief technology officer, said: “Securing this additional spectrum was a key catalyst for our plans to launch LTE in 2013 and is therefore good news for our customers.”

Fast-forward to this month, and AT&T are clearly feeling T-Mobile’s pressure. The Texas-based telecoms giant unveiled an initiative which offers T-Mobile customers up to $450 when they switch to AT&T…

T-Mobile CEO, John Legere, tweeted: “#Randall – you gave us cash & spectrum AND we took your customers with #Uncarrier moves, do you really think you can buy them back?”

The ‘Randall’ in question is AT&T CEO, Randall Stephenson, who only last month said at an investor conference in New York City: “When you’re growing the business initially, you have to do aggressive device subsidies to get people on the network,

But as you approach 90 percent penetration, you move into maintenance mode. That means more device upgrades. And the model has to change. You can’t afford to subsidise devices like that.”

T-Mobile was the first to do away with carrier-subsidised devices, as well as being the first to offer a finance plan — all as part of its much-touted “Uncarrier” strategy.

At CES this week, the rebellious John was snapped at AT&T’s presentation and promptly escorted out by security. It certainly got him the coverage he was likely expecting; despite saying he was there “to see Macklemore” perform.

Later today, T-Mobile is widely-anticipated to announce the next part of their Uncarrier strategy which, if a leaked slide (below) is correct, will pay-off termination fees for the entire family  of anyone looking to switch provider — for as long as they trade-in their devices.

We’ll report back when we hear confirmation of T-Mobile’s plans.

What do you think of the current fight between T-Mobile and AT&T?

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