T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer took a swing at rival AT&T on Tuesday, criticizing AT&T’s new Next plan as a poor imitation of T-Mobile’s offering, saying, “You get to pay for the same phone twice.”
Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer, said that when his company did away with phone subsidies it also lowered monthly rates. AT&T’s new Next plans, by contrast, charge the same monthly rates while also eliminating the discount typically provided by carriers when purchasing a new phone.
“You get to pay for the same phone twice,” Sievert said in a telephone interview.
Both carrier’s plans allow customers to upgrade more frequently by trading in their old device. T-Mobile’s monthly rates are lower, but its “Jump” program requires a $10 monthly fee, which does also include insurance against theft, loss, and damage.
“Our friends at AT&T have really gotten it wrong,” Sievert said. “Far from being disruptive innovation, it’s just another way for [AT&T] to take more money from the customer than ever.”
Of course, AT&T sees it a little differently, saying their Next program is all about offering customers a choice in how they buy their phones.
“AT&T Next is designed for people who want zero down payment and a new smartphone or tablet every 12 months. It’s something no other company offers and it’s an additional choice we offer customers along with traditional two-year subsidized pricing and no commitment pricing,” said AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook in response to T-Mobile’s comments. “The best choice for customers who prefer keeping their devices for two years or more is our popular two-year subsidized pricing.”
The programs of both carriers are designed to cut out a key cost for carriers, that of the large amount of money they spend subsidizing new phone purchases. Verizon is reported to be preparing a similar offering.