T-Mobile CMO affirms carrier's focus on prepaid customer base

Summary:T-Mobile's biggest challenges ahead include reigniting industry partnerships and building a trusted brand as it works on improving its 4G network.

SAN FRANCISCO -- As it attempts to stay competitive with the top three wireless providers in the U.S., T-Mobile USA is "skewing more towards prepaid contracts," according to chief marketing officer Andrew Sherrard.

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Speaking at the Open Mobile Summit on Wednesday afternoon, Sherrard outlined some of the biggest things that T-Mobile is working on right now. That roadmap really boils down to improving the network coverage and "ref arming spectrum," partially picked up from the AT&T breakup as well as some purchased from Verizon.

He also described that the prepaid market has exploded over the last few years, offering the fourth largest carrier in the nation a chance to differentiate itself from the pack.

By this time next year, Sherrard affirmed that T-Mobile plans to make its 4G service available to 200 million people in the United States.

Some of the big challenges going forward for T-Mobile as a smaller carrier including reigniting industry partnerships and building a trusted brand, Sherrard acknowledged.

For example, T-Mobile USA recently announced plans to merge with MetroPCS, the fifth largest mobile carrier domestically. But Sherrard specified that the two brands will still remain separate.

One of those partnerships that hasn't seemed to work out for T-Mobile is with Apple. Mobile Ecosystem managing director Mark Lowenstein pointed out during the fireside chat that T-Mobile is the only one of the top four national wireless providers that doesn't offer the iPhone directly while many other Deutsche Telekom-owned properties around the world do.

Sherrard downplayed this, noting that T-Mobile has taken measures to change its network so that it actually is compatible with iPhones sold by AT&T. He asserted that consumers can come over to T-Mobile and save around $15 a month with T-Mobile plans, adding that iPhones running on T-Mobile's network are actually "70 percent faster" than on AT&T.

However, Sherrard did not specify as to which network speeds and iPhone versions these stats refer.

"We believe allowing people to bring their iPhone over is a great opportunity," Sherrard replied.

Topics: 4G, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets, Telcos

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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