T-Mobile pledges to meet/beat discounts from other carriers

T-Mobile
People with wireless discounts are loathe to lose them. (FierceWireless Monica Alleven)

T-Mobile today said it would match or beat any eligible wireless discount for customers who switch to T-Mobile from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. In addition, the un-carrier is changing its plan name from “T-Mobile ONE” to “Magenta.” The Magenta plans also include an LTE hotspot, which was not part of the T-Mobile ONE plans.

The company cites HarrisX research that finds about 50 million people have wireless discounts from carriers, and customers tend to stick to their carriers if they have a discount. T-Mobile says with its new Magenta plans it will match or beat those competitor discounts via bill credits, discounted dollar for dollar in $5 increments, which could beat their existing carrier discount by up to $15 for one line and $30 total for two or more lines. The promotion begins on June 2.

“There are all kinds of discounts out there — employee discounts, credit union discounts — it sounds like T-Mobile will match them,” said Jeff Moore, principal with Wave7 Research.

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Moore puts out regular competitive intelligence reports about the various plans and marketing initiatives at the wireless carriers in the United States. It can all get pretty complicated. Asked if he thought executing on T-Mobile’s discount promise would be difficult, Moore said, “It reminds me of Sprint’s 50% off discount offering in about 2014 or 2015 where they ran commercials with chain saws. That was a very complicated process. I suspect execution of this might be more of a challenge than first appears.”

T-Mobile says customers who want to switch will need to bring their latest bill from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint showing an eligible corporate, affiliate, military or senior service discount to a T-Mobile store.

Magenta also adds 3GB of high-speed smartphone hotspot per line and unlimited 3G tethering thereafter. T-Mobile ONE had no LTE hotspot. Magenta also includes Netflix Basic for families.

Interesting timing

The timing of this big marketing and branding push is rather interesting, given that the Department of Justice is currently weighing the merits of a T-Mobile/Sprint merger.

RELATED: DOJ may not bless T-Mobile/Sprint, while outcries swell

At first glance, the branding and discount offer seems to be business-as-usual for T-Mobile, a company that would naturally like to win more customers away from its competitors. “I think maybe they want to show competition will go on even if the merger is approved,” said Moore.

But of course, if the merger with Sprint goes through, then the marketing offer would really only draw customers away from Verizon and AT&T.

Today’s announcement also raises the question: does the Sprint brand completely disappear if it merges with T-Mobile? “My guess is that they would probably do away with the Sprint brand and go with the T-Mobile brand,” said Moore.

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