T-Mobile distracts from AT&T earnings with Death Star press release

by: Shawn IngramJanuary 28, 2014

T-Mobile Jump

T-Mobile is always happy to kick rival AT&T when it’s down, even when all signs point to AT&T coming out ahead.

The Un-carrier went full Onion tonight, releasing a satirical press release complete with fake quotes from AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega. The release thanks AT&T for dismantling the Death Star and joining the Un-carrier movement. Not because AT&T actually announced a switch to contract-less plans like T-Mobile, but because it’s willing to pay T-Mobile customers to switch to the second largest carrier in the U.S.

“I felt it was time to really stir things up and put the customer first for a change,” the fictional de la Vega said in the press release. “And by ‘customer’ I’m referring to our former customers who switch to T-Mobile, because our current customers don’t really qualify.” AT&T currently offers T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T up to $450 when they sign up for a Next plan and trade in their phone.

ATT Ad DeathstarIf you’re at all familiar with T-Mobile CEO John Legere and his Twitter account, you’re already familiar with the contents of the rest of the satirical press release. It’s a chance for T-Mobile to take a few shots at AT&T while touting its Un-carrier strategy of buying out contracts for switchers and the speed of its 4G LTE network.

“It’s kind of like that scene where Darth Vader’s lying there and Luke helps take off his helmet,” Legere said in the press release, “and you see that, okay, sure, Darth Vader’s pretty ugly, but he’s human after all.”

There’s even a few full-page ads that T-Mobile will run in papers like The New York Times mocking AT&T with quotes like “Thanks to AT&T, new you can test drive T-Mobile risk free. See, they are really nice.”

It’s all fun to watch, especially with a character like Legere who isn’t afraid to pull a few stunts most CEOs would balk at. It’s great to watch the carriers compete with one another, and T-Mobile is definitely making a lot of great changes for users. Stunts like this will start to feel old after a while, though. To some, this press release is already a step too far.

Still, it serves a good purpose, it gets us talking about T-Mobile on the same day that AT&T announced its quarterly earnings. Despite T-Mobile’s rhetoric that AT&T is losing customers left and right, the carrier actually gained 566,000 subscribers in the last quarter. T-Mobile added 869,000, though, so it’s growing faster. Maybe when T-Mobile gets out of the number four spot the antics will be toned down. Maybe.

For now, it looks like we have more silly press releases and plenty more trash talking to look forward to. Though if dropping a few f-bombs at press events means we get better deals on the phones we’re so addicted to, we can learn to ignore the antic that might bother us.

Do you think T-Mobile is pushing too far with satirical, arguably juvenile, press releases? Or are you still enjoying the Un-carrier’s spunky attitude?

  • MadCowOnAStick

    this ceo is just too awesome

  • suavemezie


    • And yay for keeping a little childish in the wars between grey monolithic megacorps who’ve had us all by the short ones since “subsidized” phones came on the scene…

      Go John Legere. MS should hire you as their chief exec. I’d love to see you “play” Google and MS the way you do Verizon and especially AT&T in your inimitable CEO style……..

  • Brandon Miranda

    Oh god. A for effort. That really is brilliant though I have to give T-Mobile credit. T-Mo’s CEO got this on lockdown!

  • Brandon Miranda

    I’m loving it. This was a really great read. I read all the articles on the AA app and so I have to really want to say something if I want to go through the process of going from app to browser to comment. Good show, jolly good show.

  • AA :P

    good to see some real competition, we want some more action from the rest of the industry and more smaller players. too much monopoly does no good

  • You obviously don’t have T-Mobile, and don’t seem to like their CEO. But calling his actions satirical, arguably juvenile is just stupid. You sound like a hater, because he is making things happen. Whatever it takes to get customers what they want is fine with me, but call him names and crap like that because the others are stuck in a suit being uptight all day. Wether I like his approach or not, his making things happen. Get over it, like it or not…or just don’t report on him, simple.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    I enjoy almost everything T-mobile has been putting out so far. Anyway, that’s because I’m a happy T-mobile customer because (again) I live in an area where T-mobile coverage is quite good. Those who are in areas where T-mobile 4G coverage suck wouldn’t enjoy T-mo’s attitude. They’re gonna be “lol, fast speeed but no coverage” or something like that. I can partially understand since the refarmed HSPA+ coverage in my city varies place to place. It sucks where I work. My phone doesn’t have the 1700 mhz band.
    Side note: my phone has LTE, but I don’t trust LTE (because of the issues with text messages and calls)

    • Willie D

      You dont trust LTE because of issues with texts and phone calls? You do realize that phone calls kick the phone from LTE back to HSPA/UMTS right? Make a call on your phone and you will see it drop LTE in favor of HSPA. Texts work the same way, it briefly will disconnect from LTE to connect to HSPA to transmit the text over the voice channels, except in this scenario, you wont see the phone drop LTE. Incoming, works the same way.

      Distrust LTE all you want, but generally it is completely stable if the network has been deployed by anyone in the world other than Sprint deploying it. Sprint on the other hand has a ton of weak signaled lacking data backhaul coverage of LTE.

      • Tuấn Ankh

        You’re probably in an area where the issue doesn’t present. Guess what? You just don’t know about the issue itself. I’ve experienced it, so I am very sure I know better. ;)
        I had this issue for the first month owning my very first LTE phone. I got texts late a lot of times, either until I check and send new text messages or until I make a call (or until… hours later). When the phone is on LTE, it also sends duplicates a lot of times. Sometimes only 2-3 duplicates, but sometimes even more. As for calls, there were a few times people told me they called me but was forwarded to the voicemail right away. My phone was always on during those times, yet I never knew a thing. This never happened before I got that phone. I thought it was a hardware issue, so I tried to google the issue. Guess what? I found a lot of people experience the same thing. It was not a T-mobile issue. People from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint had it, too. It also happened to all kinds of phones of any manufacturer. I was still unaware that it was LTE which caused the problem at that time.
        Later on my sister got a Note 3 from the T-mobile store. She got the same issue. Hmmm, so yeah, I spent time to test with her phone, too. What I decided next? I tried to turn off LTE on both my phone and hers. Tada. Problem solved. There was no more missing or over-2-minute late text messages whatsoever. I also haven’t been told about the “I called but couldn’t reach you” anymore.
        Now this thing came on later. My classmate texted me to ask about the homework. I got a bunch of duplicates. There was that one message that had 9 duplicates. I then asked her if she had LTE on and she said yes. Hmm. So I told her about the issue and told her to try turning off LTE. Voila. Problem solved. No more duplicates after that. She was on AT&T though.

        I also want to note that I called T-mobile twice (before I knew it was caused by LTE) to let them check and solve it. Nope, they didn’t solve anything.

        Now here is what I observed:
        When I send a text message, the phone shows “sending”. Sometimes it shows “sending” for a few minutes. Sometimes it shows that for over 10 minutes. The phone somehow still send the messages even though it was already sent to the receiver once, twice, three times, four times, and so on.
        As for late text messages, I had to use Hangout SMS instead of the Samsung’s Messenger app so I could see when the message was sent by the sender and what time I actually received the message on my phone. That’s how I could tell exactly if I got messages late or not.

        Whatever you say is invalid. I’ve had the real experience.
        Now do I think LTE has issues everywhere? No.
        Do I think it’s T-mobile’s fault? Absolutely not.
        Do I think the information you provided is wrong? No.
        But do I think you know well enough about the case? No.

        Oh let me add this. The issue happened to me and my sister even when we got full bar of LTE signal. And LTE wasn’t the main focus in my other comment either. I just wanted to add why I didn’t enable LTE. But since you are at it, I hope you enjoy my essay. :)

        Edit: And yep, I do realize that the phone drop from LTE to HSPA+ when I call or receive calls. My point still stands.

        • Archie Williams III

          Nice essay..I have experienced this and tmo and att

  • tigerbalm

    I HATE evil companies like AT$T and Verizon with a passion. I switched from the dark side and so happy now! Screw them!

    • apianist16

      Uhhh, why does T-Mobile not qualify as an “evil company”? What’s different about them?

  • Willie D

    It is hilarious, but at the same time, it is a little bit drab already and the whole attacking AT&T needs to be put to rest. Sprint on the other hand should be their target and taunting and how T-Mobile is already surpassing Sprint in usable LTE coverage (not just weak signaled deployment in a bunch of no-name villages and trailer parks), but in customer additions per quarter, % of churn ratio, rate plan costs and restrictions, international data and voice roaming rates, and how T-Mobile successfully took MetroPCS and gained from it when Sprint decided it wasnt a good idea for themselves to take them.

  • Alex Ohannes

    Come on, AA. Give us that PlusOne button back! Share buttons aren’t enough! Why take away the functionality?

  • smokebomb

    Finally a CEO who is more human than corporate monkey.

  • Chris

    I might not live in an area where T-Mobile coverage is great (live in a woody area) but they where able to make it work for me.

    First time I mentioned that I have 2 bars outside my house and 0 within, no questions asked, they sent me a signal booster for the home at no charge… No service problems since.


  • Archie Williams III

    Very funny……but they are still #4 and Ma Bell isn’t getting any smaller

  • Jayfeather787

    Bit too far but whatever.