For the last few weeks, Verizon has been running a minimalist ad that rolls colorful balls down a grooved slope while a gentle, if somewhat smug, voiceover explains what the balls represent and how they show that Verizon is demonstrably the best mobile carrier in the US. T-Mobile, who makes a particularly poor showing in the demonstration, has decided to bite back with a fact-checking counter-ad.

In the blow-by-blow critique, the ‘Un-Carrier’ questions the veracity of the data Verizon cites, accusing them of paying millions for the so-called independent study. They also claim the information that Verizon used for said study was up to a year old. Since they’ve expanded significantly over the last year, T-Mobile doesn’t believe is an accurate representation of 2016’s mobile playing field. The counter-ad goes on to point out various other ways that details were omitted or twisted. You can check out the original ad over here.

T-Mobile logo Shutterstock

“Verizon is known for their network coverage….so when they suddenly start spending tens of millions in ads to try and convince people their network’s better, it says a lot!  Look, we more than doubled our LTE coverage in the last year, and we now have more LTE towers than Verizon! It’s a real horse race,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere. “Verizon’s so nervous they’re willing to use old, incomplete data about our network on TV!  But they’ve got good reason to panic, more than 5 million Verizon customers switched to T-Mobile in the last two years, and now, we’re going to show everyone else how the two networks really stack up.”

See also:

John Legere apologizes to EFF but continues to defend Binge On

January 12, 2016

The aggressive critique of Verizon’s ad is part of T-Mobile’s new “#BallBusterChallenge,” a promotional event that encourages Verizon customers to pit their service against T-Mobile’s. Cash prizes are available to anyone who can stump the ‘Un-Carrier,’ but if T-Mobile’s service ties or wins out against Verizon, participants will have to pose for a picture with their choice of a sign that reads “T-Mobile’s network just schooled Verizon #BallBusterChallenge,” “Verizon’s network just got spanked by T-Mobile #BallBusterChallenge,” or the less confrontational “T-Mobile’s network was just as good as Verizon’s #BallBusterChallenge.”

John Legere T-Mobile

This is on the tail end of T-Mobile coming under fire for throttling video streaming for users on its Binge On program, an issue which John Legere took to with equal aggression. The company’s colorful CEO is certainly a controversial character, but his unconventional methods seem to be finding paydirt for the scrappy company.

What are your thoughts regarding the ongoing PR battle that T-Mobile is waging against its competitors? Which carrier do you tend to side with and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Next: Best Verizon prepaid Android phones (January 2016)

  • Nathan Borup

    They are all evil…

  • D’ohrk!

    Hilarious ad. I just wanted to add that Root Metrics’ report says that it’s transparent, but nothing in their report actually shows raw data or how they calculate scoring — it’s awfully subjective and decidedly opaque.

  • Shots fired .. And fired ….. And fired ………. And fired.

  • I use tmobile and the poor network is real. So I also carry an att sim when the network is too congested or weak and I get dropped calls

  • brenden gonzalez

    I like how T-Mobile claims to have more lte towers is that why when I tried there network when going to other states I almost never has lte and barely bad 3g on Verizon I dropped lte 1 time for 30 minutes and still get faster speeds well T-Mobile who’s the lier now.

    • Jacob Kral

      You. Because you probably never did a test with 2 modern phones recently anyway.
      Also its “liar”.

      • brenden gonzalez

        Actually Verizon phones are unlocked i tested it with a phone under a year old and it had every band T-Mobile offers the phone could connect to all of them.

        • balcobomber25

          Which phone specifically were you using?

          • brenden gonzalez

            When I did the test a friend brand new HTC one a9 with full gsm support I was just stating Verizon phones are unlocked then I tested a Verizon iPhone 6 completely unlocked for all gsm networks also a friends same results as my HTC one m8 doesn’t have full support.

          • Jacob Kral

            You clearly are just making things up and don’t know what you’re talking about. No Verizon phones can use gsm. None.

            Also your story makes very little sense.

          • brenden gonzalez

            Your the dumb ass look it up iPhone 5s and up on Verizon wireless are unlocked they even use internatnal version of ios I’ve installed beta software on them I’ve out gsm soms in them and it does too work you have no idea what you are even talking about so I’m done commenting I can Google it go to YouTube see for yourself

          • Jacob Kral

            “Your the dumb ass look it up”
            That pretty much sums this up. Lmfao.

          • balcobomber25

            Not all of Verizons phones arent unlocked and most don’t have support for GSM networks. The two you used just happen to have GSM support.

          • brenden gonzalez

            I said Verizon phones are unlocked I never implied all are unlocked I know there not all unlocked I probably should have worded it better but he said no Verizon phones are unlocked and assumed I was lying without doing any research into it.

          • balcobomber25

            By saying “verizon phones are unlocked” that implies you think they are all unlocked, so yes you should have worded it better.

          • Jacob Kral

            The iPhone doesn’t work that way either. He’s just making stuff up. There are cdma versions and gsm versions precisely for that reason.. If they worked with everything that’d be great.. They’d save a lot of money.. But they produce multiple versions because the tech doesn’t work that way.

    • Danish Hassan

      I had Verizon Note 3 on TMobile network it didn’t have all the bands. I drove from Dallas to Pensacola,FL and my wife’s S3 had LTE most of the way and my phone didn’t. My we both got latest phone and I am getting LTE deep inside the building.

  • Robert Cabrera

    I’m a longtime T-Mobile customer (15 years) and find both ads misleading. All of the points T-Mobile makes against Verizon are true, however, in order to reap the benefits of T-Mobile’s improved service one must own a recent vintage handset that supports band 2 and more importantly, band 12 VOLTE.

    Few handsets other than those sold within the last year by T-Mobile or recent Nexus devices support band 12. Any handset without it is incapable of receiving signals in the expanded coverage area, as all new towers are using band 12.

    My OPO for example only utilizes band 4 on T-Mobile so my LTE coverage is spotty at best. Whenever I’m in a large building my signal drops to 3G or edge (if I get any signal at all) and if I leave the metropolitan areas I often find myself roaming on AT&T (with a 3G signal).

    • Jacob Kral

      Most of their phones cover 2, 4, and 12.

      • Robert Cabrera

        Did you actually read my post? Yes, most of their recent devices support all three LTE bands, however, anyone with an older device won’t benefit from their expanded service. Furthermore, if you bring a device from another GSM carrier more than likely it won’t support band 12 VOLTE as very few devices do.

        • Jacob Kral

          This is pretty standard..if you use a decade old device it probably won’twwork with modern features.

          Also, those bands are not uncommon at all and Att devices use the same ones so likely it will.

  • LastKings31

    This is like the Tupac vs Biggie… In the end… They’ll both die ?

  • balcobomber25

    I could care less about the ads, I care about the price and coverage. With Tmobile I get unlimited data for $30 a month, on a Verizon their top data plan is $120 a month. I live in the city so I can get great coverage with both. Tmobile for the win!

  • ichuck7

    I had Verizon and I hated how they treated me as a customer. Finally, I had enough and went to T-Mobile. I’m happy.

    • SamsaraGuru

      Many years ago I had a very unpleasant experience with Verizon – about 7 years – quit them. Apparently the avaricious Tiger that is Verizon has still not changed its spots.

  • minniethedobe

    Here in south Norfolk I get a signal with T-Mobile when all around, on ANY other network, are failing!

  • Anothermuse

    Verizon does have by far the strongest network. For business travelers this is well known and very important. However the fact that they have to run these ads does show that they are bleeding customers over their pricing. Nothing wrong with Verizon charging more for an objectively better service, however when you pay a luxury price, you expect better treatment. Translated to, you shouldn’t have to endure the bloatware, they should push updates through etc. The network is great, but quit treating your customers like carnival marks and then I’m a lot more onboard.

    • Rob

      LOL. No they don’t. We have about 200 people in our building. Cell reception sucks there, but only the T-Mobile and Sprint users can get any kind of signal at all. When I had Verizon years ago, I had way more dropped calls than I’ve had with Sprint.

      • Jesse Wood

        I find that hard to believe anywhere I go Verizon kills the competition… I literally can’t switch I’d get terrible service on other carriers, where I live and where I work hardly anyone gets service on any other carrier AT&T is pretty good T-Mobile is barely usable and sprint is just terrible, but Verizon has service pretty much everywhere I go.

        • Rob

          Which is what makes Google’s Project Fi such a great deal. I already have an invite, but I won’t use it, until I’ve paid off my phone.

      • smokebomb

        I had a similar issue. I was on the 3rd floor of an office building, my desk was 3 feet from a window, and I had no signal on Verizon. Not even 3G.

        • Rob

          This is sometimes a function of other interference, proximity to other electrical devices, attenuation in the air, due to moisture, and other building materials, such as metal, etc. In our cause, the building is mostly metal and often being near a window helps, slightly. However, most of the time, it’s just AT&T or Sprint users who can get any real kind of reception.

  • Bretton Key

    I was on T-mobile a year ago and while in metropolis areas, I received excellent coverage. I ended up switching due to me traveling more and T-mobile coverage wasn’t up to par in the places I went I went. Ultimately Verizon was the solution, but the pricing, poor customer service, and lack of device support killed it for me. I just went to T-mobile and their coverage has definitely grown and improved. Furthermore, you do need an updated phone to make use of the coverage. Sadly, you do need a phone made within the last 3 months or so to be happy. On side a note if the manufacturers/Google don’t get a better scheme for updating android then I will certainly invest in either a Nexus device or go team iPhone…

  • SamsaraGuru

    Jon Legere and T-Mobile have something the other carriers find essentially impossible to compete against; a charismatic leader whose personal power, likeability and believability gives face, heart and soul to the company. Someone who isn’t afraid to say what is on his mind, rather than having to “get back to you” – after confering with an assemblage of lawyers and Madison Avenue ad men.

    Frozen in their ways, old and decaying Humongous corporations, who long ago lost the ability to think on their feet like entrepreneurs, because they sold their souls to the “respectable industry icon” devil, will always be left flat footed and sorely wanting – when they go up against one lightning fast and fleet of foot like Jon Legere.

    H. Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire, once said; “Brains will beat capital spending ten times out of ten.”

  • smokebomb

    Ever since I left Verizon for T-Mobile 3 years ago I have become progressively happier throughout their uncarrier changes. You couldn’t pay me to go back to Verizon. I used to pay $100 for a single line on Verizon. I now pay $90 for me and my wife. That $90 is for service, insurance, my unlimited data, and the “JUMP 1” plan that we signed up for which allows us to get a new phone every 6 months for the cost of the TAX of the phone. So, in a year, I’ll spend not much more than $50 twice a year to get a new phone. Verizon offers nothing close to that and they don’t even offer unlimited data anymore.

  • Allan

    I have been with T-Mobile for 2 years and its network is not stable in my area. This ad makes me feel more confident in my decision of switching to Verizon.

  • Malkijah Rashad

    I have both services. I have a iPad on T-Mobile and my phone on Verizon. I feel that is the story between the company’s. I feel that Verizon has better coverage for calls even though T-Mobile has HD calls and wifi calling. T-Mobile sinks Verizon on tablet service. T-Mobile is a better carrier from the ease of use standpoint. The service will activate about any phone and the cost is less. Verizon has been on top from the start and their network is strong but CDMA tech is becoming extinct so I would like to see going forward how Verizon makes adjustments. Both services are great and offer benefits that cater to their respective customers.