Verizon, AT&T, Sprint shrug at T-Mobile's new no-contract plans

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) seemed unfazed by T-Mobile USA's decision to do away with wireless contracts and CEO John Legere's vow to shake up the status quo.

T-Mobile on Wednesday formally unveiled its new "Simple Choice" plans without device subsidies and also launched LTE its network. The actions are part of the company's efforts to rekindle customer additions. However, T-Mobile's fellow Tier 1 carriers greeted T-Mobile's event with a shrug--despite Legere's edgy presentation, which was laced with profanity and specifically called out Sprint and AT&T.

"Customers don't need another AT&T," Legere said. "Customers need someone to stop acting like AT&T." Legere also blasted AT&T's network performance when it first launched the iPhone--indeed, AT&T has acknowledged that its network, particularly in cities like New York and San Francisco, was not able to handle the deluge of data traffic the iPhone brought to its network.

According to CNET, an AT&T spokesman had this to say in response to T-Mobile's claims and presentation: "Whatever."

Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told FierceWireless that Verizon customers "have for years enjoyed the ability to purchase a phone at full retail price on a month to month no-contract plan. Phones on our website are offered at full retail price as well as the discounted price to give customers a choice in how they purchase their mobile devices." She also highlighted Verizon's LTE network, which covers 273.5 million POPs, or close to 89 percent of the U.S. population.

Sprint said in a statement that it "gives its customers the best of both worlds with Truly Unlimited 4G LTE data on smartphones and the best value for customers with a savings of $110 over T-Mobile when comparing the total cost of ownership over two years for the 16 GB version of the Samsung Galaxy S III. In addition, true no-term contract options are available with Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and Sprint As You Go."

Legere said Wednesday T-Mobile is going to eliminate the prepaid/postpaid distinctions by just going with a no-contract offering without device subsidies. Customers can either buy their smartphone outright for the full cost of the device or they can make a down payment and then pay for the remainder of the cost of the device in monthly installments. Additionally, customers can bring unlocked devices to T-Mobile.

Legere also told CNET the carrier is considering the idea of an upgrade club that would allow for "anytime upgrades," which would be a maximum of two upgrades per year. Customers would pay a "very small" membership fee. Legere said the idea is not finalized and may not come to pass, but that the carrier can experiment with that kind of an idea. "We're going to innovate in this space," he said. "This model will allow us to do that."

For more:
- see this CNET article
- see this separate CNET article
- see this The Verge article
- see this separate The Verge article
- see this TMoNews article

Related Articles:
T-Mobile kills wireless contracts, will launch iPhone 5 on April 12
T-Mobile undercuts AT&T, Verizon with new Value plans, starting at $50/month
T-Mobile's LTE network shows 25 Mbps downloads in early tests
Report: T-Mobile will offer rate plans with handset subsidies through third-party retailers
T-Mobile to unveil new 'Un-carrier' strategy at March 26 event