The battle between AT&T and T-Mobile is heating up, with AT&T offering T-Mobile customers several hundred dollars to switch carriers.
Starting today, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T can trade in their smartphones and get up to $250 that can be used on AT&T products and services. They can nab an additional $200 per line when they switch to AT&T and select an AT&T early upgrade Next plan, buy a device at full retail price, or activate a device they already own.
Trade-in values will vary depending on the current state of your device, but ”most popular smartphones will qualify for a value of $250,” AT&T said.
According to an AT&T website, making the switch and pocketing your cash is a four-step process. First shop for a smartphone and select an AT&T Mobile Share Value plan. Before checkout, enter your existing T-Mobile number and transfer it to AT&T. Then, visit att.com/tradeinprogram and follow the steps to trade in your current smartphone for an AT&T Promotion Card worth up to $250. When the switch is done, you can get that extra $200 if you stick with AT&T for three months.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere was not impressed, tweeting a message to AT&T chief Randall Stephenson.
In a formal statement released later in the day, Legere said AT&T’s offer is ”a desperate move by AT&T on the heels of what must have been a terrible Q4 and holiday for them.”
”I’m flattered that we have made them so uncomfortable! We used AT&T’s cash to build a far superior network and added Un-carrier moves to take tons of their customers – and now they want to bribe them back!” Legere continued. ”Consumers won’t be fooled…nothing has changed; customers will still feel the same old pain that AT&T is famous for. Just wait until CES to hear what pain points we are eliminating next. The competition is going to be toast!”
The cash to which Legere is referring is the break-up fee T-Mobile received once the AT&T acquisition went south in 2011. The dissolution of that proposed deal means it’s back to the business of trying to steal each others’ customers. T-Mobile fired the first shot in 2012 when it launched a campaign to lure users with an unlocked AT&T iPhone to switch over to its network.
That was before T-Mobile ditched contracts to become the ”un-carrier,” with outspoken CEO John Legere at the helm. Just this week, Legere tweeted his New Year’s resolutions, one of which was to ”give AT&T a break … or not.” In recent months, T-Mobile has also offered tablet users 200MB of free monthly data as well as free international data and text roaming to compete with likes of AT&T. PCMag’s Sascha Segan, for one, thinks T-Mobile’s post-merger moves indicate that competition is working. See what he thinks about AT&T’s new offer in today’s episode of PCMag Live below.