T-Mobile mocks AT&T’s launch of its mobile 5G service with a new infographic poking fun at its competitor’s 5G Mobile Hotspot. AT&T recently announced the launch of its next-generation wireless service on December 18th and interested consumers may take advantage of the new network using its 5G Mobile Hotspot. T-Mobile’s latest PR move hits at its rival’s 5G device by highlighting the size comparisons made by tech publications to a small plate. It also released a gift guide that shows the accessories that consumers may buy for AT&T’s 5G hotspot. These fictitious accessories include an armband, a backpack, a counterweight, a trolley bag, and a heat-absorbing mitt.
Aside from poking fun at its rival’s 5G device, T-Mobile also highlighted the limited reach of AT&T’s 5G network. AT&T launched its service in 12 different cities across the United States, although T-Mobile emphasized that AT&T’s 5G network only serves limited areas within the 12 urban centers. Even within what T-Mobile calls as “tiny coverage bubbles”, users may have trouble connecting to the 5G network due to the short range of mmWave frequencies used by the next-generation wireless networks as well as obstacles like walls, trees, and vehicles which could easily block the signals coming from the base station.
Background: T-Mobile poking fun at its rivals’ 5G efforts is not new, with the carrier’s CEO, John Legere, also mocking Verizon when it launched its fixed wireless broadband service known as 5G Home. Like what T-Mobile emphasized with AT&T’s 5G network, Legere noted that Verizon’s 5G Home service is only available in small pockets of neighborhoods within the four cities where Verizon launched its service. Furthermore, the CEO highlighted that Verizon’s 5G Home network is not scalable and that the deployment of the service will remain limited since the carrier is using a proprietary standard known as 5G TF, rather than the 5G New Radio standard that the operators around the globe will deploy. Verizon, for its part, previously said that they will replace their existing 5G equipment with standards-compliant devices once they become widely available.
Aside from its rivals’ 5G services, T-Mobile routinely mocked its competitors on the issues of customer service, price points, fees, and other hidden costs. Recently, the carrier released a video titled “The Carriers Who (Almost) Stole Wireless” which portrayed AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast as grinches that schemed to raise prices, implement new fees, and serve massive bills to consumers, while T-Mobile’s executives came in a magenta sleigh and prevented the grinches from pursuing with their plans. The video also highlighted some of the problems experienced by consumers in dealing with the carrier’s customer service departments, with a part of the video showing a customer calling for help but an automated service answers their query instead.
Impact: While this recent act intends to mock the competition, it also highlights some of the key issues faced by device makers and carriers regarding 5G networks. For example, it is only a few months ago that Qualcomm managed to develop an integrated mmWave and sub-6GHz RF modules that could fit inside a smartphone, which means that 5G devices developed prior to the release of these modules will have a larger form factor. Furthermore, it will take a few more years before carriers can cover substantial portions of the United States with 5G base stations, and many users will still rely on 4G LTE service in the coming years.