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AT&T to T-Mobile: 'Whatever'

T-Mobile bashes its rival's rate plans and data speeds during its "Uncarrier" event in New York in hopes it will attract a lot of AT&T customers. AT&T has a one-word response for its competitor.

T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert, speaking at the carrier's event today in New York, calls AT&T's rate plans confusing.
Lori Grunin/CNET

Is it just us, or did it seem like T-Mobile was taking a lot of shots at AT&T during its "Uncarrier" event today?

Executives, including T-Mobile CEO John Legere, mocked AT&T's confusing data plans, its network speeds, and even the paperwork required to sign up for its services. They claimed an iPhone on T-Mobile's new plan will cost users $1,000 less than at AT&T and even called AT&T Nation "vaguely sinister."

AT&T, meanwhile, didn't have much to say about T-Mobile's comments and claims when contacted by CNET. All a representative said in response was "whatever."

Still, those were some pretty big jabs from T-Mobile, but there's a big reason for them. Though AT&T and T-Mobile once planned to merge, they're now back to being fierce competitors. T-Mobile has been under pressure to make some changes, having lagged behind its competitors and largely coming to a halt during the failed merger process with AT&T. T-Mobile has lost customers and has been slower in building an LTE network.

But the carrier recently has become more aggressive amid its plans to merge with MetroPCS, build an LTE network, and offer popular flagship devices like the iPhone, as it showed today during its event in New York. In particular, T-Mobile hopes to attract AT&T customers to its network by showing the differences between itself and AT&T.

"There's a reason we're focusing on AT&T," Legere said. He noted that many people remember their first iPhone but hated the network experience. That was because of AT&T, he said.

Legere said he expects a large influx of AT&T customers in part because T-Mobile's download speed is dramatically faster and because it's "a snap" to move to T-Mobile's network with an iPhone 4 or 4S from AT&T.

"We'll make it attractive to come over with an iPhone 4S," Legere said, adding that T-Mobile is thinking about ways to entice customers with an iPhone 5.

"It's time to disrupt the status quo," Legere said.

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