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New T-Mobile campaign responds to AT&T attack ads: 'Can you see the beads of sweat?'

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T-Mobile Germany (STOCK)
T-Mobile Germany (STOCK)

As Microsoft wraps up its anti-Google TV commercials, a new advertising war is heating up — this one between first-tier carrier AT&T and smaller competitor T-Mobile, which is looking to peel off customers by moving away from two-year contracts. Last week, AT&T went after T-Mobile's download speeds and network stability in full-page newspaper ads, and TMoNews reports that T-Mobile is now responding in kind. Instead of printing specifics, though, T-Mobile is trying to communicate a more general message: that it's "keeping AT&T up at night."

"Can you see the beads of sweat in this ad?"

All three ads show a crumpled corner of AT&T's "truth about T-Mobile" missive, and TMoNews says they're set to run sometime in the next few days. One wonders if readers can "see the beads of sweat" in the AT&T ad, and another references a failed 2011 merger between the two companies, asking "If AT&T thought our network wasn't great, why did they try to buy it?" There's some artistic license there, of course. As in most carrier mergers, T-Mobile's spectrum was probably its biggest attraction, and AT&T argued in filings that controlling a wider swathe of spectrum was vital to its then-nascent LTE efforts. T-Mobile itself recently proposed a merger that would involve cannibalizing the MetroPCS network for more spectrum.

These ads aren't official yet, but we don't doubt their authenticity. T-Mobile has been up-front about taking on AT&T in upcoming ad campaigns, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere called its New York network "crap" earlier this year. Despite T-Mobile's scrappiness, it has a lot of catching up to do: its LTE network has yet to launch, and it has about 33 million customers compared to AT&T's 107 million.


Update: T-Mobile hasn't confirmed the ads, but it's sent us a statement from chief marketing officer Mike Sievert agreeing with their premise:

We love a good scrap, especially when the winner is the consumer. What's more, we love that thousands of customers drop AT&T for a better experience at T-Mobile. So far more than two million customers have brought unlocked iPhones to T-Mobile, and counting. We won't stop until everyone has heard our Un-carrier message.