AT&T Goes After T-Mobile With Switching Promotion Worth $450

AT&T LogoBy AT&T [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2011, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) were getting on swimmingly with the former being forced to abandon a nearly $40 billion takeover of the latter owing to regulatory issues. Since then, AT&T has simply pursued the customers of rivals Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile rather looking to pick up either competitor – a move that would certainly be scuppered by the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory bodies.

At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it’s expected that T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) plans to offer AT&T customers a switching option in order to pull customers from the considerably larger company. That news appears to have triggered a peremptory action by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) in reverse. The wireless giant posted the following on its website today before the CES begins in earnest next week.

AT&T announces switching option

Beginning Jan. 3, under the limited-time offer, T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) customers who switch to AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) can trade-in their current smartphone for a promotion card of up to $250, which can be used toward AT&T products and services.  Trade-in values will vary based on make, model and age of the smartphone, but many of the latest and most popular smartphones will qualify for a value of $250.  T-Mobile customers can receive an additional $200 credit per line when they transfer their wireless service to AT&T and choose an AT&T NextSM plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.

While many industry experts believe that the offer is a bit underhanded bordering on bullying, AT&T denied this via email to CNET.

Targeting T-Mobile Specifically?

“Wireless has always been a very competitive industry and a move like this should not be unexpected,” the representative said. “As you know, there are handset promotions all the time.”

The AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) rep went on to tell CNET that “while this promotion is targeted to T-Mobile customers, Sprint and Verizon customers can get a minimum $100 trade-in when they choose Next, plus pay only $25 per smartphone on Mobile Share Value plans.”

While that may well be the case, it’s considerably easier for AT&T to target T-Mobile customers given the fact that the two companies work on the same technology and it’s easier for T-Mobile customers to switch than, say, Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S)’s customers.

Suffice is to say, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s policy seems to be, “If you can’t own them, beat them about the neck and shoulders with a six iron and a chair leg,” while claiming it’s just standard operating procedure. And there is nothing wrong with that.

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]

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