Virgin Mobile wants consumers to know that it's a major player in the no-contract wireless game too, and isn't afraid to spend a little money to show it.
Virgin set its sights directly on T-Mobile, offering $100 to T-Mobile customers willing to switch their number over and buy a smartphone before May 31.
Carriers will often provide incentives to switch, but rarely do they target a specific company. T-Mobile has made a lot of noise about its move to abolish contracts and subsidies, and Virgin Mobile, a business built on prepaid service and a unit of Sprint Nextel, wants to remind folks that it's been at it longer.
"You know we've been talking about saving money with prepaid service since 2002," a company representative said in an e-mailed statement.
Virgin and fellow prepaid business Boost Mobile, also a unit of Sprint, are likely feeling the heat with T-Mobile making a lot of noise about its new no-contract options. Sprint counts heavily on its prepaid business to offset the continued declines in its Nextel operations.
T-Mobile, for its part, doesn't feel the need to make any changes.
"We're not worried about it," said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president of marketing for T-Mobile, in an interview with CNET. "Between the network, plans, and devices, we feel good about what we've got. There's no need to respond."
Sherrard said that T-Mobile was seeing early momentum after moving to eliminate contracts and phone subsidies.
T-Mobile hasn't been shy about ripping its rivals, though it hasn't paid as much attention to Virgin or Boost. The company has largely focused on AT&T, and believes it can spark the number of customers switching from that carrier, which offers a compatible network.
AT&T has largely been dismissive of T-Mobile's attempts, with a representative telling CNET, "Whatever," after the T-Mobile launch event last month.
Updated at 5:46 p.m. PT: to include a response from T-Mobile.