Last week, T-Mobile responded to AT&T Next with some biting comments, criticizing the implementation of the program and the ultimate cost it presents to subscribers. Such resulted in a bit of a carrier-on-carrier battle, and T-Mobile has again called out the program, this time with a couple of print advertisements. Also pulled into the criticism was Verizon Edge, a newly unveiled upgrade program by the carrier.
The latest criticism is in the form of a couple of print advertisements, one of which has been published today and the second that will be published on Thursday. In the ads, there are quotes from media that criticize AT&T Next, followed by a fairly passive-aggressive jab on T-Mobile's part at the carrier. In addition, T-Mobile's CEO also made a lengthy statement on the program, adding Verizon's Edge program into the mix.
“Had AT&T with “Next” and Verizon with “Edge” really taken our lead and unveiled offerings worthy of serious consumer consideration, we’d have to give them credit … On the surface, their programs look okay. For the first time, these old guard phone companies seemed to be acknowledging that a certain segment of customers hates being locked into the same phone for 730 days. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll see they don’t get it at all. Or they don’t want to.”
Subscribers who take advantage of AT&T Next can get a device without a down payment, instead paying a monthly fee that ranges from $15 to $50, depending on the device. The payments must be made for 12 months, after which point the device can be swapped for a new one, or for 20 months, after which point the subscriber can keep the phone.
Verizon Edge works a bit differently, spreading the full cost of the smartphone over a 24 month period in monthly payments. After 6 months, the subscriber can then upgrade to a new device, but is required to have paid for 50-percent of the full retail price of the device.
The issue with both of these plans, says T-Mobile, is the failure to factor the amount saved by not subsidizing the price of the handset into the monthly plan fee. As such, the subscriber would end up paying a large amount for a smartphone, but the plan pricing is still set as if the device were subsidized. T-Mobile contends that as such, the carriers have gotten it all wrong.