T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere made good on his promise to send a message to T-Mobile's competitors to stop charging overage fees for mobile data usage and sent a skywriter airplane to deliver a message to "Abolish overages" above Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) headquarters.
Legere sent out a stream of posts on Twitter indicating that today would be the day T-Mobile took action, about two months after declaring it would and opening up a pool about how it should send the message. In April 2014, T-Mobile launched a petition, at Change.org/AbolishOverages, calling on other carriers to follow T-Mobile's lead in dropping overages. The petition had garnered 250,000 signatures at the end of August and now has more than 330,000 signatures.
Besides skywriting, the other options included a plan to "take over the skyline in AT&T, Verizon or Sprint's home market -- and display a massive copy of our petition with the names of all quarter million + signers hung from a building." Another idea was to "build a live counter that displays the running tally of how much America has spent in overages and put it smack dab in the middle of a competitor's home market."
After much buildout, Legere said on Twitter: "HEY @verizon! LOOK UP!! NOW DO WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT!! #AbolishOverages." Legere then posted pictures of a skywritten message that said, "#AbolishOverages" above Verizon's headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J.
T-Mobile ended domestic data overages in April 2014. Under Verizon's new data plans, which it introduced earlier this month, all overages are billed at $15 for each 1 GB a customer goes over their data limit. In terms of overages, AT&T charges $20 per 300 MB on a 300 MB plan, $20 per 500 MB on a 1 GB plan and $15 per 1 GB on all other plans. On Sprint's Family Share Pack shared data plans, the carrier charges 1.5 cents per MB above a customer's data allotment.
Verizon representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson took to Twitter with a series of responses to Legere. "That time when your wireless company's CEO did a circus act to deflect the real problem: a lousy network that doesn't meet your expectations," he said in one post. In another post, Nelson wrote: "That time you found yet another form of communicating more reliable than the TMobile network. #SmokeSignals #Skywriting #PonyExpress."
This isn't the first time in recent weeks T-Mobile and Legere have directly taunted Verizon. In September T-Mobile released a TV commercial touting its expanding LTE coverage, tweaking Verizon's recent TV ad that featured geese. The new T-Mobile ad was meant to highlight its growing 700 MHz A Block deployment and improved coverage and in-building penetration. Legere also mocked Verizon after it changed its corporate logo last month.
Verizon thinks it will get the last laugh. The company's official Twitter account sent out a message that said, "We get it, sometimes messages are unclear when you're not on America's best, most reliable 4G LTE network." The message had a photo of a Verizon plane skywriting a message that says, "#1 in speed, reliability, coverage, performance." That's likely a reference to network testing firm RootMetrics' August report that showed that in the first half of 2015, the firm rated Verizon the No.1 network in terms of overall performance, call performance, data performance, network speed and network reliability.
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