T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been trash talking the competition ever since he joined the company. But today T-Mobile itself is taking its ongoing war with AT&T to a new level — or what some might consider to be a new low. The carrier has issued a satirical press release blasting AT&T for a new promotion that offers T-Mobile customers up to $450 to switch providers. The official press release reads like something straight out of The Onion; it starts off, "T-Mobile US, Inc. 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."
It even contains fictional quotes from AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega.
"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."
T-Mobile doesn't hide the fact that the quotes are completely fabricated, but to see them in an official communication from the company is truly bizarre. The entire press release carries an aggressive tone that largely takes after the salvos that Legere has fired at rivals via Twitter.
"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."
T-Mobile's Un-carrier strategy appears to be getting the attention of consumers; the company added over 869,000 new customers in Q4 compared to AT&T's 566,000. But AT&T's churn is down, which means customers aren't bailing for T-Mobile (or any other rival carrier) to any significant degree. With well over 100 million customers, AT&T still dwarfs T-Mobile in overall size. But none of that is stopping T-Mobile from carrying on this very public feud; today's press release hit just as AT&T's financials were released. Those figures point to a successful quarter, so it's not surprising to see T-Mobile playing the distraction game. According to Legere, the campaign mocking AT&T's latest switch offer will also be appearing in print — and those ads share the same juvenile tone.