So much for Kumbaya. There might have been some warm, fuzzy feelings a few months ago when AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA were about to merge their their telecom operations. Suddenly all that love has gone by the wayside, and now these two competitors are back to love, alright – they love to hate each other.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has been waging a battle with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) over supremacy in the U.S. wireless market. T-Mobile USA has been wallowing in fourth place behind Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), but seems to have gotten some attitude since merging with MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE:PCS). But based on what T-Mobile did at its “Uncarrier” event in New York this week, AT&T seems to be perceived as the playground bully and T-Mobile is just now getting up the courage to stand up to it after getting sand kicks in its face for so long.
While the expectation was that T-Mobile was touting its phone lineup and its plans moving forward to try to get more subscribers, the noteworthy to come out of the vent were all the shots that T-Mobile people gave to AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) – as if they were the only two competitors left on Earth. T-Mobile compared its services with that of AT&T, making claims that owning an iPhone on T-Mobile’s network would be up to $1,000 cheaper over the course of a two-year contract than it would be on AT&T’s network, and T-Mobile continually disparaged AT&T’s network speed, “confusing” data plans and restrictions.
Not only that, but T-Mobile USA was reveling in the news that not only will it debut the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 on its network in early April, the carrier will be the first to offer HD Voice technology on all calls. Call that, T-Mobile dusting the sand out of its face, standing up and facing the bully nose-to-nose.
And in true playground form, when T-Mobile rose up and complained about At&T Inc. (NYSE:T) with something like, “You’re mean and not very nice to me and my friends!”, AT&T literally sent a one-word response to all the comments and criticisms:
We suppose that T-Mobile will challenge AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) to a fight off school grounds after school. Better make sure no teachers are around r they’ll get in big trouble! Granted, T-Mobile is not big enough for AT&T to exactly be worried about, but certainly T-Mobile is successfully distracting AT&T from trying to knock Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) off the perch as King of the Playground by playing the bullied schoolkid who is finally rising up to challenge the bully that bullies everyone and claims to not be scared.
Now we’ll just have to wait for the bully to be punched in the nose once to see what happens.
What are your thoughts about this AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)-T-Mobile USA spat? Is AT&T right for dismissing this out-of-hand, and do you think T-Mobile is taking a correct or desperate approach to try to remain viable in the wireless market? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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