T-Mobile urged to pull TV commercial depicting smartphone robbery

Ad is 'more than tasteless,' say prosecutors in New York and San Francisco

T-Mobile US has shaken up the wireless industry with its "Uncarrier" initiatives, running TV commercials featuring former Saturday Night Live comedian Bill Hader to promote its early phone trade-in offer called Jump!.

But one commercial, that parodies a smartphone robbery, isn't funny, according to two prosecutors who wrote a letter to CEO John Legere urging T-Mobile to pull the ad. .

"This ad is more than tasteless: These robberies often turn violent and have resulted in severe injuries and multiple deaths," said the letter to from San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The prosecutors formed the "Secure Our Smartphones" initiative in June to push smartphone makers to design systems for phones that disable a phone with a "kill switch" when stolen so that it cannot be re-used, thus removing the incentive to steal phones.

"Consumer Reports estimates more than 1.6 million Americans were victimized for their smartphones in 2012, many thousands of whom were presumably T-Mobile customers," the prosecutors said in the letter.

"What's shocking is that despite the victimization of its customers, T-Mobile has not only refused to take steps to reduce theft, it's making a joke of the situation in order to upsell its customers to new phones," the prosecutors continued. "We strongly urge you to pull these ads."

T-Mobile said in a statement that it is joining other industry groups to "find new deterrents and other measures to thwart this kind of crime across the country," but did not say what it plans to do about the ad.

This article, T-Mobile urged to pull TV ad parody depicting smartphone robbery , was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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