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AT&T offers customers $450 to leave T-Mobile

AT&T is fighting back. Not one to be one-upped by competitor T-Mobile, the company is offering T-Mobile customers $450 to switch over.

"They're going to give T-Mobile customers a $200 credit for phone line, plus up to $250 for their smartphones if they switch to AT&T. Basically bribing people." (Via KUSI)

This latest move might mean AT&T is feeling some pressure from T-Mobile, which is currently the fourth-largest wireless company in the U.S.

CNET reports AT&T’s initial strike could indicate T-Mobile will announce a similar offer at the Consumer Electronics Show. As CNET previously reported, T-Mobile was planning to offer $350 to customers for leaving their current providers, but an AT&T representative says not to read too much into the move:

"Wireless has always been a very competitive industry and a move like this should not be unexpected. As you know, there are handset promotions all the time."

But not everyone is buying that PR-friendly response.

And a good chunk of media outlets view this move as an act of war. But Forbes points out, war or not, at least the customers are the winners. (Via MarketplaceCBSForbes)

And in a formal response to the promotion, T-Mobile's CEO John Legere called it flat-out desperate.

He also referenced AT&T in his tweet, writing, "You gave us cash & spectrum AND we took your customers with #Uncarrier moves, do you really think you can buy them back?"

T-Mobile made some serious moves last year, introducing its Uncarrier strategy, which eliminated contracts and offered lower monthly rates and other perks.

The company also introduced its Jump program, which allows customers to upgrade phones twice a year. (Via T-Mobile)

The tug-of-war between AT&T and T-Mobile for cellular customers is likely to continue, but remember when they were on somewhat friendlier ground?

In 2011, AT&T was planning to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion, but the deal never went through. Now rumor has it the company that owns a majority of Sprint is in talks to scoop up T-Mobile. (Via The Verge)

No word on how long AT&T's $450 promotion will last.

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