T-Mobile US and Sprint have a competitive relationship that reads like a dream come true for each businesses’ marketing departments. T-Mobile’s often-outspoken Chief Executive, John Legere, has taken to Twitter to dismiss Sprint, and Sprint for their part have advertised a promotion by flying a banner over T-Mobile US’ headquarters. As December rumbled towards the Christmas and New Year break, we’ve news of a new height escalated between the number three (T-Mobile US) and number four (Sprint) national carriers of North America. It appears that all T-Mobile US stores have received a Sprint-branded gift basket and on the front, there’s a card saying, “Out companies compete to take business from each other throughout the year but this is the season of giving. So enjoy these treats from Sprint. Happy Holidays, Marcelo.”
So far, so good, but on the back there’s another message that says, “Let’s Move Forward. Together.” There is also a URL for Sprint’s Careers website, so the back of the basket appears designed to encourage T-Mobile US employees to seek other opportunities with Sprint. One unnamed source has said that T-Mobile’s management team have issued instructions to store leaders telling them to discard the baskets (presumably the word, “recycle,” “charity” or “donate” were included in the memo?) and not to discuss the baskets on social media. It appears that T-Mobile US do not want to kick up a fuss about Sprint’s jibe and chocolate basket.
The Christmas and New Year period is traditionally a trying time for cell ‘phone store employees and perhaps T-Mobile US’ management are trying to avoid the temptation of their best salespeople taking a look at what Sprint has to offer. However, in every relationship, including one between an employer and an employee, hiding the temptation does not work. Perhaps T-Mobile US are planning their own retaliation message, or perhaps they are hoping that there will be no fuss about the story or their attempts to cover it up. One can only hope that those store leaders who did as they were instructed at least ensured that the basket contents went to a good home.