After AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) started a fight against T-Mobile last week by launching ads attacking its quality of service, the company is now waging its own war.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has retaliated by launching two ads of its own in the big national papers, according to CNET. It has attacked AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) for taking “cheap shots” at it and ran ads that posed the questions, “What keeps AT&T up at night? Apparently us” and a more direct one: “Can you see the beads of sweat in this ad?”

How does that take on AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) ads from last week? They ran with the title, “The truth about T-Mobile’s network.”  It made comparisons between the two carriers with the second ad alleging that T-Mobile has “2x more dropped calls, 2x more failed calls, 50 percent slower download speeds.”

The ads ran for only one day and they likely did not change the marketplace but it did peak T-Mobile’s interest; the company also appeared to appreciate the publicity.

In a Bloomberg story, T-Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said, “Wow. Looks like we struck a chord. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) doth protest too much. Glad they’re spending their money to print our name.”

Rather than retreat, T-Mobile instead has stood up for itself and wears the underdog badge with honor.

The carrier is stuck in the fourth spot among national carriers and really, it has nothing to lose by fighting back. Recently its CEO John Legere spoke bluntly about his competition.

At January’s Consumers Electronics Show, Legere said that AT&T’s network “sucked.”

Sievert has also jumped into the fight and has said via CNET, “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.”

According to Sievert, T-Mobile received 2 million unlocked Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones. These customers had to have come from AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s iPhones are the only ones that are compatible with its network.

At one time, the two carriers had been on the same page. Back in 2011, they were headed toward a merger but regulators put a kibosh on it, worrying the marriage would affect competition.

So what’s next for these two? It could be the start of a bigger campaign by T-Mobile to take on its big-boy competition. It had said it plans to get customers more aggressively and compete more. Look for its reach to expand after its merger with MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) is completed.

This should move forward as the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it had no objections to it. Its next hurdles are getting past the Federal Communications Commission, the Committee on Foreign Investment and MetroPCS’ shareholders.

An April 12 merger vote is scheduled for the shareholders.