T-Mobile USA might lag behind AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint as the fourth-largest carrier in the United States, with an 11 percent share of the market, but that isn’t deterring the company from completely overhauling the way it does business. With new chief executive John Legere at the helm, alongside recently appointed marketing chief Michael Sievert, T-Mobile is looking to make a splash in the wireless industry with an entirely new approach.
A few days ago, the mobile provider announced the second phase of its “Uncarrier” initiative, highlighted by the introduction of the Jump smartphone upgrade program for new and existing subscribers. In a nutshell, the program allows for customers to upgrade their smartphones up to two times per year after an initial six month waiting period. If you signed up in January, for instance, you could upgrade your handset twice — and whenever you want — between July and December.
The main objective for T-Mobile is to solve the so-called “pain points” that make customers so hesitant of carriers: contracts, complex rate plans, expensive upfront payments for devices and the inability to upgrade smartphones without waiting at least a two-year term. So T-Mobile scrapped contracts and simplified its pricing tiers in phase one of Uncarrier, and now offers a seamless and affordable method for customers looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone.
It’s that simple.
While the Uncarrier initiative hasn’t necessarily yielded instant returns for T-Mobile, the move is part of a larger picture for the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary. In a recent television interview with Bloomberg, Legere sounded optimistic in saying there are a significant number of smartphone users on competing carriers — namely AT&T and Verizon — that are becoming increasingly interested in switching to T-Mobile, but are stuck on long-term service agreements.
“In this industry now, the switching pool is extremely important,” said Legere. “And of the potential switchers, they said they’re likely to switch to 9% Sprint, 10% AT&T, 19% Verizon [and] 26% T-Mobile. So what we’re doing is not only working with our current results, but it suggests that there is a large pool of people stuck in those contracts that are planning on coming. Now that they’ve seen Jump, they’re coming even more.”
T-Mobile still has a long road ahead of it, as it attempts to eliminate the negative connotations that surround the carrier. The company is still criticized for its poor customer service experience, which ranks fourth among major U.S. carriers, and lack of network coverage in several areas. T-Mobile is making strides in at least one of those areas, however, announcing that it has expanded its 4G LTE network to 157 million people across 116 metro markets in the United States.
The John Legere that was on stage earlier this week at T-Mobile’s press conference was a straight-shooting, no-beating-around-the-bush executive. He answered all questions without holding back, and seemed truly excited about his company’s plans. If T-Mobile continues to be as transparent as the CEO is, and places customers at the forefront of its operations, I think we’ll be hearing a lot of good things about the magenta-flavored carrier in the months and years ahead.
Will you be making the switch to T-Mobile?