Last month, the self-described “uncarrier” blasted out a nationwide email encouraging BlackBerry users to trade in their devices for an iPhone 5s at $0 down.
In response, BlackBerry loyalists amassed on Twitter in defense of the long-suffering device and to attack T-Mobile’s candid and polarizing CEO, John Legere.
Blackberry’s own CEO, John Chen, even penned a letter to customers, thanking them for their outrage and commitment. “For our loyal customers on the T-Mobile network,” he wrote, “know that we have an offer in the works designed especially for you.”
But beyond all of the back-and-forth, the numbers don’t lie.
According to a leaked memo, T-Mobile’s promotion inspired 15 times the normal number of BlackBerry trade-ins, with 94 percent of customers choosing to upgrade to a non-BlackBerry device.
Of note, also, is that these stats were reported after T-Mobile had updated its promotion in response to the ire it generated on social media. T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer, Mike Sievert, countered Chen’s open letter in a blog post that offered BlackBerry loyalists an additional $50 discount if they upgraded to a newer BlackBerry model.
The divisive promotion was only T-Mobile’s latest in an effort to unshackle consumers from the ironclad contracts and disproportionate fees that have become an industry standard.
Earlier this year, it announced that it would pay early-termination fees of up to $650 for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers who wished to change services and trade in their devices.
Last October, T-Mobile also announced that it would eliminate international roaming fees by offering unlimited data and texting abroad in over 100 countries while offering a global flat rate of 20 cents per minute on voice calls.