AT&T sues T-Mobile over 'dishonest and completely false' senior discount ad campaign

The carrier is seeking an injunction and damages.


AT&T is suing T-Mobile. On Tuesday, the carrier filed a complaint in Texas's Eastern District Court, accusing its rival of false advertising. T-Mobile’s recently launched “Verizon and AT&T Ban Senior Discounts” campaign is at the center of the lawsuit. The activation includes a website that claims “92 percent of seniors in the US can’t get a wireless discount from Verizon and AT&T because they don’t live in Florida.”

The campaign aims to draw attention to a promotion that dates back to John Legere’s tenure as CEO of T-Mobile. Since 2017, the carrier has offered Unlimited 55+ plans that give people 55 and older discounted access to its network. For instance, the current base level package starts at $40 per month with autopay and includes “unlimited” talk, text and smartphone data.

In early 2020, AT&T began piloting its own Unlimited 55+ plan. At the moment, however, it’s only available in Florida. “Until Verizon and AT&T offer senior discounts outside of Florida, we’re helping their customers get access to the wireless discounts they deserve as part of our Carrier Callout,” T-Mobile says.

AT&T contends T-Mobile’s campaign is “intentionally designed to deceive senior citizens.” The carrier says T-Mobile’s website includes claims that are “literally false.” Moreover, it notes that “AT&T has not ‘banned’ seniors from getting discounted services outside the state of Florida.” The company points to a program it has had in place since March 2015. AT&T offers members of AARP, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 38 million seniors in the US, a $10 discount off its Unlimited Premium plan, among other perks. That promotion is available in all 50 US states.

“T-Mobile’s claims are outright dishonest and completely false. It is not the first time they have spread misleading information,” an AT&T spokesperson said. “AT&T offers wireless discounts to people of all ages, including seniors in all 50 states. The only way to stop the un-truthful carrier is apparently in a court of law, and that’s where we are.”

T-Mobile did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment. AT&T is seeking damages and an injunction against the campaign. The Unlimited 55 promotion isn’t the first time T-Mobile has gotten in trouble for its advertising. In 2020, the carrier said it would stop claiming its 5G network was more reliable than that of its competitors after Verizon filed a complaint with National Advertising Review Board.

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