Who's Winning the War of Flimsy Wireless Deals?

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS), and Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) have come out with one deal after another -- so whose is the best?

by Josh Selway

Published on Jul 9, 2015 at 2:38 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Capitalism brings a lot to the table, and that includes endless entertainment, as companies jockey for our money by offering mediocre deals masquerading as the greatest offer ever. In no market is this more true than in the wireless carrier business. Seemingly every other month, one of the top dogs -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS), and Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) -- is promoting a new deal. Of course, you can only discover that these offers are facades by squinting your eyes until they burn, just to read size 2 font at the bottom of an ad ... or until you burst into your carrier's store to have a reasonable conversation with an employee after your bill comes in at $280 instead of $175. 

It seems like these "deals" have been coming out more and more frequently lately. I think it was Sprint that got the ball rolling with its "cut your rate in half" event. This was marked by those outrageous commercials that showed people -- who were wearing proper eye protection -- using weed whackers and chainsaws to cut pieces of paper in half. I feel like scissors would have been adequate? More recently, the company promoted its "All-In" plan, possibly stealing some of Cleveland's thunder. It then released another weird commercial where hundreds of people follow around David Beckham. Apparently, "All-In" didn't really mean "All-In," and Sprint had to go back and make some adjustments

Then T-Mobile came in and said it would simply pay for any termination fee if you would just, please, come to their side. Please. It didn't stop there. Now the company is letting people JUMP up to a better phone -- three times a year. 

While Sprint and T-Mobile try to get customers, Verizon and AT&T are trying to keep them. Verizon has continuously used the "seriously, our connection is the best. You'd be a fool to switch, even though you'd save money" approach. And then it released a commercial featuring geese. Meanwhile, AT&T is just telling people they can keep the data they don't use, even as it seeks a merger with DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV)

Basically, you have two choices: T-Mobile/Sprint, which offer lower prices but weaker service, or Verizon/AT&T, which offer better service for a higher price. That's it. Just choose using your favorite color. Mine is red -- that's why I have Verizon. It's worked out okay so far.

While all companies have presented creative offers, I think the best offer would be one called: You Actually Get What You Pay For and Your Bill is Never Magically $100 More Expensive Than Last Month's. I don't know, just an idea. If we are choosing by deals, though, I think T-Mobile has done the best job -- and the numbers are proving it, as the company added over two million customers in the second quarter.

Moreover, TMUS has soared over 43% in 2015. Compare this to its competitors: T at 2.5% year-to-date, VZ at negative 1%, and S down 6%. Clearly, TMUS is winning, as of now. But with fresh competition in the game, it may not be long before T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) is the one fending off the smaller guys. 

And the real loser here? You could say that it's Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), or Sprint Corp (NYSE:S). But I would make the case that it's really you and I, as we continue to fall victim to loopholes and carefully hidden technicalities. I don't want to have to use a chainsaw to get a good wireless deal. 

AND QUIT SLOWING DOWN OUR DATA SPEEDS. 

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