Did Verizon just force T-Mobile to make a change?

T-Mobile may have been caught off guard by Verizon’s sudden switch to unlimited this week, but it moved fast on Monday to take the shine off Verizon’s new offer.

In a series of Tweets Monday afternoon, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced a series of upgrades to T-Mobile’s own T-Mobile One unlimited plan. Among the changes are the inclusion of HD video and 10 GB of high-speed hotspot data at no extra charge. In addition to being implemented on the plan for users who switch, Legere said the changes will automatically be applied to existing users’ T-Mobile One plans starting Friday.

Legere also kicked off a new unlimited promotion for the Un-carrier offering two lines of unlimited data for $100.

The T-Mobile One tweaks come in response to Verizon’s unexpected revival of unlimited on Sunday. Verizon’s new plan offers customers unlimited talk, text, and data for $80 for the first line or $120 for two lines.

Interestingly, Verizon’s offer also includes HD video and a Mobile Hotspot with 10 GB of high-speed data (and 3G speeds thereafter) – which of course you’ll recognize from the T-Mobile announcement above. Prior to Verizon’s announcement, the Un-carrier only offered 4G LTE hotspot speeds and HD video via Day Passes on its premium $85 T-Mobile One Plus plan; regular T-Mobile One customers were stuck with 3G hotspot speeds and 420p video unless they purchased an HD video Day Pass at $3 a pop.

Some analysts – including BTIG’s Walter Piecyk – speculated Verizon’s unlimited roll out was rushed, in part given the lack of an ad during one of the most watched sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl. And it certainly seems to have caught T-Mobile off guard; the One plan changes and two-line promo mentioned above only appeared on Legere’s twitter account rather than being accompanied by an Un-carrier press release per usual.

But why would Verizon rush? True, Mobile World Congress is coming up, but I can’t see why they’d need to make an unlimited announcement before then. I mean yes, they’ve also been struggling with net additions and customers want unlimited, but they could have taken the time to plan better.


There is something else happening this month, in fact, it’s happening tomorrow. And that’s T-Mobile’s fourth quarter earnings report. To me, this certainly looks like an understated (or not) attempt to rattle T-Mobile ahead of a big moment and get their name into the conversation on Tuesday’s call.

But something tells me it’ll take more than this to shake Legere off his game.