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

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

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  • "Prepaid Contract"

    How exactly does that work?

    Oh, silly me. I forgot. Rachel only seems to post and run.
  • I'm hoping T-mobile keeps the prepaid offerings coming.

    Been on their $30 a month plan for four months now and it's been great. Data isn't LTE fast, but it's plenty fast enough. The galaxy nexus I'm using works great, especially considering its price, and all told I'll be saving about $1400 over the next two years compared to what I was paying with Sprint.
    • Why Tmobile trounces ATT LTE

      Just try downloading any 500gb file.

      Tmobile HSPA takes a few min. ATT LTE takes four hour or more depending on location.

      The story is not the same for files < ~20mb. This leads me to believe that ATT does not have the infrastructure for bandwidth that TMobile does. Or they are prioritizing their data handling that goes against net neutrality.

      Either way, having to deal with very large data daily, Tmobile HSPA has proven considerably better than ATT LTE.

      Sprint does provide a reliable service, though slower than TMobile. Verizon is next, but they just keep pricing themselves out.
      • Huh?

        Isn't that more so the result of network clogging? AT&T has far more customers than TMO!
  • I'm switching to Tmobile prepaid at the end of the month

    $30/month here I come
  • This dovetails nicely with what I said in the Lumia charger post...

    ...With Google's nexus devices getting better and better with NO draconian contract even required, people will soon start to realize that the next major paradigm shift in wireless will be prepaid service with self-purchased equipment. I was navigating around the T-Mobile site a few weeks ago and happened to notice how pre-paid centric it seemed to have become. In fact, at one point I managed to dig myself so far into the pre-paid part of the site, I couldn't even see any reference to post-paid products at all.

    Unfortunately, T-Mo's data rollout has a long way to go. I had both a T-Mo Galaxy S3 and a couple of iPhone 4s I tested out on their network and in the case of the S3, if it wasn't on 4G it would revert to 2G and the speed and connectivity was AWFUL. This was right in the heart of the Midwest. The iPhones, which won't even operate on 4G, were balls slow period, and without 3G, they would not send or receive MMS messages.

    If T-Mo can get their act together with the data infrastructure updates (which serve the dual purpose of also bringing iPhones to 3G, but not 4G service levels, which is sufficient), the other carriers are going to have a very hard time justifying their pricing structures. Even if you can't swing the 30.00 a month plan everyone keeps talking about because you're a normal person who still makes phone calls, you can get the 60.00 a month plan that gives you plenty of 4G data and unlimited everything else, and that's far cheaper than VZW or ATT.
  • Seriously

    Can you really trust anyone who says "prepaid contract". Now there's an executive who's out of touch with their own business....yikes!