T-Mobile Offers Free 2-Week Vacation From Verizon

T-Mobile on Tuesday launched “Never Settle for Verizon,” an aggressive response to Verizon’s “Never Settle” ad campaign that gives Verizon customers an opportunity to test T-Mobile’s network for themselves. T-Mobile promises to pick up any fees incurred by customers who participate in the free trial, whether they ultimately decide to switch to T-Mobile or not.

In its “Never Settle” campaign, Verizon calls itself the “largest, most reliable 4G LTE network” in the U.S., and it asks its rivals’ subscribers to consider what they’ve been giving up by getting their cell service elsewhere. That got the attention of T-Mobile, the self-styled “Un-Carrier,” prompting it to lock onto Verizon and, for the moment, ignore No. 2 AT&T.

T-Mobile criticized Verizon for urging consumers to “never settle,” even though Verizon customers must settle for a slower network, limited data, overages, having their unused data taken away, inflated international charges and other trade-offs.

Verizon seemed to believe its customers should happily pay more money for a worse experience, T-Mobile said, so it decided to call a spade a spade.

Do the Deal?

To prove its worth to consumers, T-Mobile is offering Verizon customers two weeks to try out its network. They can port their phone numbers to any phone T-Mobile carries, keeping their own phones in case they want to go back to Verizon. The deal starts on May 13, and Verizon customers can sign up for 14-day test drives up to May 31.

Customers who decide that Verizon is the best company for them after all can return their T-Mobile phones, retrieve their phone numbers, and resume their contracts with the red team. T-Mobile will cover fees associated with restoring Verizon’s service.

For those who choose to forsake Verizon and stay with the pink team, T-Mobile will pay off early termination fees of up to US$650, or cover their outstanding device payments when they trade in their Verizon phone for one available through T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan.

The “Never Settle for Verizon” deal is a first-of-its-kind offer, T-Mobile said, and the industry’s only risk-free way to test drive a network.

Race to the Top

Though it claims to have held the No. 3 spot for a long time, T-Mobile crept past Sprint into third place during the second half of 2014, according to RootMetrics. The reach and capabilities of the two are still very much on par, with Sprint holding the edge in network reliability and overall performance. Nevertheless, T-Mobile has had its sights set on No. 1 Verizon.

T-Mobile’s “Never Settle for Verizon” campaign is “masterful,” said David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision.

With T-Mobile still trailing AT&T and Verizon, such campaigns are critical, he added.

“It gives free publicity to T-Mobile, detracts attention from Verizon, and has consumers considering T-Mobile who would not have been,” Johnson told the E-Commerce Times. “In essence, T-Mobile has interjected itself into Verizon’s campaign and is making it its own. Additionally, with a tongue and-in-cheek press release, they are skillfully using humor.”

The campaign may be a brilliant and effective way to bring in new subscribers from rivals, but consumers should be wary of giving too much weight to carrier-speak, suggested Ritch Blasi, president of MediaRitch.

The wireless industry generates a wealth of metrics, and there are myriad ways to interpret some of that data to make boasts that start with adjectives like “fastest” and “strongest” and “largest,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Most of the claims T-Mobile makes in its announcement at one time were adopted and adapted by other carriers, Blasi pointed out, and the “bottom line is you get what you pay for. Verizon still isn’t playing the price card. It doesn’t care if T-Mobile or Sprint go after the low-hanging fruit. They want the high-value customers who know they will receive the highest overall quality experience of any carrier.”

Quinten Plummer is a longtime technology reporter and an avid PC gamer who explored local news for a few years, covering law enforcement and government beats, before returning to writing about things run by ones and zeros and the people who make them. If it pushes pixels or improves lives, he wants to learn all he can about it.

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