T-Mobile US has launched a promotion aimed at customers of rivals AT&T and Verizon, which have recently announced price increases on certain plans. Under the offer, dubbed “Carrier Callout,” T-Mobile will give away a US $200.00 virtual prepaid card for every line ported to the operator, up to a maximum of US $1,000.00 for five lines. The operator said it will also apply a “Price Lock” guarantee that pledges not to raise prices for as long as customers maintain their chosen plan.
T-Mobile US has long distinguished itself by aggressive moves intended to take business away from its competitors, the top two major MNOs in the U.S. market, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Its “Un-carrier” strategy is based on publicity-seeking offers that position it as radically different from its rivals, more attuned to the needs of subscribers, and willing to take losses in the short term in order to give customers what the other operators are presumably not giving them.
The current offer, “Carrier Callout,” fits neatly into this corporate-cultural pattern. First, the messaging aimed directly at the other operators casts T-Mobile as a disruptor and an aggressive advocate for consumers. Second, the giveaway of US $200.00 per line to a maximum of five lines is a comparatively generous one. Third and even more extravagant is the “Price Lock,” or guarantee that a given user’s plan will not have its prices raised for as long as the user stays subscribed to it. Here is where T-Mobile could be putting itself in a difficult position, missing out on revenue from price hikes. However, if the number of consumers who leave AT&T and Verizon—which are increasing some of their own prices and are therefore tempting targets—is large enough, it could be well worth it for T-Mobile. And besides, it could protect itself by eventually terminating some of those plans and substituting others that have higher prices.