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

January 28, 2014
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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?

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