T-Mobile launches Ideas for Randall campaign in response to AT&T’s legal letter to a customer


Making the rounds today is a story about Alfred Valrie, an AT&T customer that wrote a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to make two suggestions that Valrie thinks would make AT&T better: unlimited data for DSL subscribers and a rate plan add-on that offers 1,000 text messages for $10 per month. However, the AT&T CEO forwarded the message to AT&T’s legal department, who responded with the following statement:

“AT&T has a policy of not entertaining unsolicited offers to adopt, analyze, develop, license or purchase third-party intellectual property … from members of the general public. Therefore, we respectfully decline to consider your suggestion.”

An AT&T spokesperson confirmed that that response was deliberate, as AT&T has apparently previously had customers threaten to sue AT&T for allegedly stealing ideas that had been sent to the company. “It’s so we can protect ourselves,” AT&T spokeswoman Georgia Taylor explained.

Now T-Mobile is responding to the whole situation by welcoming ideas with open arms (and an open inbox). T-Mobile says that AT&T customers can send their comments, concerns, and ideas to IdeasforRandall@t-mobile.com or Tweet @JohnLegere with the hashtag #IdeasforRandall. T-Mo will gather the best comments and send the ones that they’ve already fixed over to AT&T and its lawyers. Here’s what John Legere has to say about the matter:

“The entire Un-carrier revolution began by listening to customers. It’s where we get our best ideas, and I want everyone to keep sending them my way at John.Legere@T-Mobile.com. It absolutely amazes me that Randall would tell a lifelong customer to basically go away and talk to my lawyers. I interact with customers on a daily basis so I can hear their ideas firsthand. It’s called living in the 21st century.”

While AT&T’s response to Valrie may have been an effort to protect itself legally, it’s still kind of a crazy response to a customer that made some suggestions about how AT&T could make its service better. T-Mobile has always touted itself as being the carrier that listens to its customers and fixes their pain points with Un-carrier moves, and now it’s making sure that everyone knows it with this new Ideas for Randall initiative.

Sources: LA Times, T-Mobile


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  • TheVorlon


  • Mike Palomba

    I gotta say this is pretty funny and crazy. But I bet it will make ATT listen

  • Ordeith

    A few years ago Disney stopped taking suggestions from guests that were written. Verbal is ok (no paper trail) but apparently people have this weird idea that they should receive compensation if their voluntary suggestion is implemented, or even if an employee implements something similar independently of the original suggestion.
    And there are courts that have actually sided with those guests/customers.
    It’s a mad world.

    • Trevnerdio

      Yep. I work at Best Buy, and you are absolutely prohibited from voluntarily working off the clock. Apparently, they’ve had some people turn around and sue for compensation. Like how does that make sense?

      • Brian Warner

        There ~has~ to be a clear and distinct line between working and not. If you’re working, you fall under a certain umbrella of worker’s comp / insurance, and there’s OSHA standards that can’t be forgotten. Plus, if they were asked to contribute by their supervisor, directly or indirectly, even if they’re not on the schedule, they have a basis for expecting compensation.

        More importantly though, it can easily become a slippery slope of, “Joe and Steve both are good employees, but Steve throws in an extra 10 hours of work weekly that we don’t have to pay him for, so Joe’s on the chopping block when it comes time for layoffs.” At that point, a “voluntary” contribution at work would become pseudo-mandatory if you wanna keep your job.

        Regardless of whether it’s voluntary or requested, you get paid for work you do, or don’t work at all. If you’re chomping at the bit to throw more hours at a task than you’re directly compensated for, go find a salaried position. If you want something that you can throw infinite hours at and get all the reward for, start your own business.

        • Trevnerdio

          Right, that all makes sense. It’s so specific here though, it even goes so far as to state ‘you can’t straighten up shelves when you’re off the clock.’

          When I’m waiting around at the store for whatever reason after my shift, and I still have my blue shirt on, I’m more than happy to point people where they need to go. Doesn’t bother me. But yes, I get totally get the “faux obligation” aspect.

        • Patrick Day

          I worked for an oil company once and had to sign an agreement that stated that if I came up with a profitable idea that was related to the job I did, it belonged to them. But they would compensate you handsomely for said idea so they weren’t total douches.

    • n8erman

      I actually get this, IF the “suggestion” represents some kind of new, unique idea that has potential value (“intellectual property.”) But to suggest that you could better serve your customers by doing something your competitors are already doing cannot possibly rise to this level. Stupid.

      • Ordeith

        There is no contract when someone volunteers a suggestion. I don’t get it.
        If you want compensation, get them to agree to hire you as a consultant first.

  • NOYB

    Hey AT&T, can you hear me now!!!

    • maximus1901

      No. They’re busy spending their billions on PROFITs

  • kgraham182

    Is this an AT&T blog or T-Mobile?

    • taron19119

      This is a t-mobile blog this has everything to do with tmobile

    • Drew

      Hater be quiet Bro. You are always hating on T-Mobile. Everytime I turn my back there you go with all the hateorade Bro. Leave T-Mobile the hell alone. Good grief.

    • Frankwhitess

      Are you a hater or just need attention?? If it has to do with T mobile then it belongs on this site… I dont care if it’s about a Pepsi andriod phone.. If it can work with T mobile, then it belongs on this website…

      • Drew

        Agreed Bro. This dude here is a freaking Lunatic. :(

      • Fabian Cortez

        He’s been trolling here and has trolled me once.

        I wouldn’t worry too much. Just flag.

  • Tim O. Towers

    AT&T. Your world immovable.

  • Justsomecommentator

    Hey AT&T. Have you ever listened to your customers? You Will. And T-mobile will bring that to you.

  • Danny

    While I do think the respond is ludicrous I can understand from AT&T point of view. We live in a sue happy world, and thought of possible ligation for someone looking for nice paid is problematic. Funny story thoe. AT&T should just kept quite

  • disqus_lf8Qw4mMGV

    At@t could at least pretend to care. That responce was kinda rude.

    • maximus1901

      Each quarter, att
      1) distributes billions in dividends to his shareholders
      2) spends billions on network
      3) still has billions left over to count as profits

      So why would att care about a lowly customer’s suggestions/complaints?

      Meanwhile, TMO
      1) pays nothing to stockholders
      2) oscillates between profit of tens millions and loss of a few hundred million.

      THAT is why TMO has to care.

      Get it now?

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Actually tmobile has paid shareholders 2 or 3 times. And is making profit. Where r u getting this misinformation from?

        • maximus1901

          Wow 2-3 times? Att pays out 4x/year plus their ongoing stock buyback which increases value of remaining shares.

          In the last few quarters, TMO once made a profit only because of a spectrum sale to vzw. And sometimes they’ll make $100M profit.
          I look at their quarterly statements.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Tmobile has been on the stock market for how long vs ATT. Let me remind you

        • maximus1901

          That’s irrelevant. Completely and totally irrelevant.

        • GinaDee

          ATT also delivers features like Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE, HSPA+, HD Voice, Wideband LTE years later then their competitors. With so much money you’d think they’d be leading the industry with new services instead of playing 2nd, 3rd and 4th fiddle in network quality, speed tests etc. around the country.

          What is systemic is that companies the size of AT&T, Comcast etc. are known for putting their customers last. If that’s what you are defending either you are an ATT employee (not even paid to defend them so blindly) or just a typical internet douche.

        • Fabian Cortez

          *falls over*

          I guess a leopard can change its spots.

          The above post is the last thing I’d ever expect out of you GinaDee. You used to be very pro-AT&T.

        • Spanky

          ” If that’s what you are defending either you are an ATT employee (not even paid to defend them so blindly) or just a typical internet douche.”
          By that token, can’t the same be said about most of the commenters on this thread? I am not trolling – this is a legitimate question.

        • Aaron Davis

          Sounds like a great deal for at&t shareholders, but what about everyone else?

          Paying dividends every quarter doesn’t mean a company is good (or even profitable), it just means that the shareholders are priority #1

          They could have used that extra cash to increase tower backhaul or reduce customer bills, but instead they waste it on making the 1% just a little bit richer.

          T-mo might not be profitable all the time, and their coverage might suck, but they are at least TRYING to improve. Meanwhile at&t breaks contracts with cities (by arguing that 70% coverage is the same as 100%), and lets their copper network rot.

        • teabaghater

          then stay at att and shut up

      • David

        While what you say is partially true, I wish more customers would leave AT&T and join T-Mobile so we can help T-Mobile grow. Why support AT&T while they absolutely don’t care about customers.

        • maximus1901

          Because TMO coverage still sucks. They don’t own 700mhz licenses in many areas.
          Newsflash. No one cares about the customers; they care about money. If caring for customers helps being in more money, THEN they’ll care about customers.

        • Acdc1a

          Every company except in a true monopoly situation (see utilities) has to care on some level about customers and service even if it’s at the most basic level. As a consumer the best thing you can do when you don’t like the service or product is to take your money elsewhere.

        • Spanky

          I’d love to do that and probably will, as soon as T-Mobile’s coverage and building penetration match that of AT&T. I’m not going to sacrifice the quality of my service to help a carrier grow.

        • I left Alltel for T-Mobile after reading about AT&T buying out Alltel 25 months ago. Turns out, it was the only correct decision.

          While AT&T has the best phones, their business practices really turned me off to the idea of joining them.

      • Paul

        Someone hasn’t been reading the quarterly reports.

        Also, AT&T has multiple outlets fir income. Magenta is strictly a mobile carrier.

        • maximus1901

          Att wireless is quite profitable.

          Which facts have I gotten wrong?

        • Adrayven

          I’m looking back, when did they loose a few hundred million? I’m seeing some break evens, several negatives .. but that was years ago.. please be specific.

        • Paul

          Should verify those numbers. More customers means more money coming in. Then they use that money to expand and build their business. You can’t build your business without some profits. Basic business logic.

      • matt

        yeah. they spend billions of dollars on their network, but tell the FCC they are too poor to bring us fiber , and claim that replacing the cooper lines is too expensive. heck its so expensive that they have to use wireless to expand uverse to rural areas. meanwhile!!! they go door to door to tell you ” we are changing to an all digital fiber network” as a pitch to sell you 12 mbit DSL

      • matt

        maybe now that AT&T bought direct tv, the can stop charging people with satellite internet $120 for 25 gigs of bandwidth a month. these companies, they upstream 5 gigs a minute of HD channels to people who don’t even subscribe to HD TV. but they claim that satellite internet is too expensive, and you are only allowed a small bucket of data a month.

        they went out and created spot beams to save bandwidth on their satellites. but companies like direct way and hughes continue to weasel you and rob you of bandwidth. you should have 150 to 300 gigs a month on satellite just like you have on dsl , thanks to spot beams

      • Ascertion

        Except TMUS stock has nearly doubled in price, while AT&T stock has been within the 10% gain range. AT&T is a less volatile stock, but T-Mobile’s has been the better stock to invest in in the last year.

      • nelagster

        Why would att care about a lowly customer’s suggestion? Because business should be about working together, not robbing the customers of as much money as possible

  • silverhawknike

    lol #attsucks

  • n8erman

    Responding in such a way presupposes that the concepts of offering unlimited data and text messaging sold in packs are somehow intellectual property, an assumption that would surely fail in almost any American court of law. Absurd.

  • Fabian Cortez

    I believe it was Mr Paul who stated that American Thugs & Thieves was the most ethical carrier in this country…

    • RossBuckingham

      Cricket throttles their download speed to 8mps, probably to protect AT&Ts Go Phone divsion, I’m on the T-Mobile/Walmart $30 a month plan and get speeds in the low 50s.

      • maximus1901

        TMO throttles their prepaid $35/45/55 plans to 8mbps

        • Nick

          True, but not the $30 one.

      • TylerCameron

        8mbps is enough for 75% of what you do on mobile, and paying less for the network, but a capped speed is actually a really good idea. All the carriers need to abandon data caps and implement speed tiers. For example, T-Mobile could charge $80/month for speeds AS FAST AS 50mbps, AT&T/Verizon would charge $200 for the same thing, QoS would greatly improve most people would opt for, say, 8mbps for $45/month, allowing bandwidth to be used more efficiently among customers. There’s no reason why a bunch of people are getting basically unlimited (now a days, up to 100+Mbps bandwidth) and being a tower to its knees. No one NEEDS 100mbps on mobile yet.

    • Richard Roma

      Does anyone at s4gru have any credibility left? These are the same guys who for years swore that Sprint’s dialup speed 3g network had no problems. Even after one slapped report after report, user experience after user experience, in their stupid faces.

  • Geeez

    Not trying to change the subject, but is their anyway we can get rid of the annoying, “Why shopping for glasses online is a smart move” BS?

    • maximus1901

      Sure. Wanna pay $1/month to the site?

    • Paul

      Get ad block.

      • Richard Roma

        How do you think they pay for this site?

        • Paul

          Oh, I’m aware of how they pay for the site. I, however, do not like to be bombarded by ads and have crap cached onto my computer.

          Now, someone asked if there was a way to limit the ads. I answered their question.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Kudos tmo

  • matt

    i spent like 15 minutes sending an email to ideas for randal and i came up with 22 things AT&T can do to make them better

  • Randall Lind

    AT&T is so stupid geez can’t ever send them ideas but I am sure they want her $$

  • mIke

    What an ass hole! Surely a more gentler reply could have been sent. I’m seeing an employment change for that rude attorney. Perhaps he should go to charm school and learn some tact. I’m sure Randell has been welcomed by TMO to switch from att to TMO.

    • Acdc1a

      That’s attorney speak. It has to be clear and robotic. Can’t blame the legal department, only the a$$hole that forwarded it and in this case, it goes all the way to the top.

  • vrm

    t-mobile should send all good ideas not yet implemented by att to att- that way att will NOT be able to use them !

  • Mo

    Geez, I’m sure ATT didn’t come up with the idea of allowing WIFI calling all on their own. Collectively there’s not enough brain power in their think tank to come up with independent ideas. Some citizen/non employee of ATT must have suggested this along the way. Perhaps TMO should sue them for stealing their ideas. Guess the motivation to take suggestions from “outsiders” is different when a lot of money is on the table. Go figure.

  • Alex Pilaia

    I emailed Tmo with my recommendation of adding Android Promotional offers to their JUMP on Demand Lineup. (ala $5/mo iPhone offer) A rep from Tmo called me and thanked me for the submission and that it was a fantastic idea. He said it would be the first topic discussed at their next promo meeting.. THANK YOU TMO!!

    • (J²)

      I think it would be great but the reason there is such a great promo for the iPhone is because they don’t depreciate very quickly and have a reputation for great resell values. Heck, I’ve seen iPhone boxes on eBay for $40!

      In other words, the carriers are not offering these promotions at a loss.

  • skywalkr2

    Based on this I just complained to him that its ridiculous to charge $180 deductible for iphone cracked screen… when the kiosk at the mall outside the store will fix it for $100 flat.

    • Acdc1a

      The insurance deductibles are insane, but keeping it the same regardless of the reason for having to use it keeps everything simple. If you crack your screen, simply don’t file a claim.

      • skywalkr2

        Instead I just cancelled Jump. It sort of made up my mind that Jump was just a money sink for me.

    • Ellay

      Awwww and AppleCare?

    • (J²)

      The insurance companies dictate the deductibles not the carriers. Assurion and Assurant are well known but the lesser known phone insurance companies have lower deductibles.

      Take a look at Cricket, they sell phones which just so happen to carry deductibles almost as expensive as the phone purchased brand new.

      • skywalkr2

        Hence why I think its a bit crooked for TMO stores / insurance to put through this charge. They should tell the customer to go downstairs to the apple store or go to some other location. It’s really bad customer service to allow unknowing customers to get ripped off like that.

    • TylerCameron

      Bring it to an Apple Store, they charge $130.

      • skywalkr2

        Right, but as I stated we have a place here that only charges $100 for iPhone 5s. Possibly 6 is more.

  • consumer


    • SirStephenH

      Que responses by T-Mobile apologists saying that it’s “de-prioritization”, not throttling even though they have the same outcome.

      • TechHog

        No. Throttling affects you for the rest of the month and is always to a very low, unusable point. Deprioritization is temporary, only affecting you at times when you’d have slower speeds either way, and you might still have usable speeds even while affected.

    • Patrick Day

      I have unlimited and have never been throttled so I dont know where you got that from. Hey, maybe your holding it wrong?

    • Chris Dooley

      I have unlimited on all 8 of our corporate lines including the one I use and even when Ive used 40+ gigs I have never been throttled. There may be unusually high congestion on the tower that you are on.

  • carol argo

    Ms must be laughing at att(ok maybe not since ms chose att. Imagine .basicly ms is pissing off att everyday with it’s (uber)insider feedback program. Oh men .this isn’t gona end up well for customer
    Ps: If it wasn’t for general public , t-mobile would NOT have climbed to number 3 spot in usa.

  • JR

    It’d be nice if T-Mo actually gave existing loyal customer that are still with them after, say, two years no deposit requirements when they want to upgrade instead of going through new programs/offers/etc.

    • Tyler Kirchman

      They do. After 12 consecutive ontime payments you become 0 down credit class A.

      • JR

        Why do I have to go through that ringamarole when I already proved it with my payment history for two years previously? It’s ridiculous.

        • Tyler Kirchman

          After 3 years you also become credit class A.

        • JR

          That would be nice. Unfortunately no one at T-Mo’s customer service department – while they do a great job every time I contact them – has not mentioned this to me. Not even once. Thanks for the heads up.

  • TmoSubToo
  • AS118

    Nice, THIS is why I’m a T-mobile customer and switched from Verizon. Thankfully, since everyone in my family lives and works in urban areas, we can afford to not have Verizon.