Can social selling help telcos win the acquisition war?

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150 years after the American Civil War, there’s another showdown brewing in the US of A. But this time, it’s not being fought with bowie knives and Colt revolvers, it’s being fought with tweets and hashtags.

“#Jerks”, says John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile - firing a broadside at AT&T. “We’re coming for your spot,” he snarls, menacing top dogs, Verizon. “Crap network,” he sneers, lobbing a hand grenade at Sprint.

So far, his opposite numbers have largely remained above the fray. But this response - and its accompanying image - from Sprint’s newbie CEO, Marcelo Claure, is more than telling:

“I just finished my second week as CEO of @sprint and all these were my assignments. All completed!!!”

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Which referral gimmicks does he mean? I’m pretty sure he’s talking about T-Mo’s “Refer-a-Friend” programme, which offers unlimited 4G data plus a $25 voucher to anyone recruiting a pal.

Now, there’s nothing unusual about the campaign - referral programmes are ten a penny - but the tone is unapologetically aggressive. And Legere’s rhetoric which surrounded its launch was doubly so. Having previously accused his rivals of “raping” their customers (casually


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