T-mobile tried something bold this year, probably bolder than any US carrier has done in the past few years. They decided to separate the voice and data plan prices from the smartphone subsidy prices, with the Un-carrier project. It seems that ended up being a very smart move, because it has landed them 1 million new subscribers in the 3rd quarter. This helped T-Mobile make $6.69 billion in revenue. The company still posted a $36 million loss on the quarter, but it’s a huge improvement from a year ago, when it posted a loss of $7.74 billion.
T-Mobile’s Un-carrier approach is resonating with consumers. We added more than 1 million customers and led the industry with 643,000 branded postpaid phone additions because we are fixing the things that drive customers crazy”
Why did this work? Because before it was harder to offer too low prices for their plans, when they had to include the smartphone subsidies in them, too. But now, they can offer their voice and data plans at a much more fair price, which will appeal to customers. Then the customers can pay as much as they want for their smartphones, by choosing either a very low-end one, or a higher-end one. But the process is much simple, and more flexible than before.
T-mobile has also started offering the JUMP program, where you can pay an extra $10 per month, and you’ll be able to upgrade your phone twice a year, and the price also includes warranty for the phone, which makes the program a pretty good deal, if you happen to change your phone often. Their competitors’ offering for this sort of upgrade program are nowhere near as good.
Then there’s the recently announced “Tablet Un-leashed” program, which gives all T-mobile tablet owners 200 MB of data per month, for life. It will barely cost T-mobile a few GB of data every few years per customer, but it’s a great way to attract new customers to buy tablets from them.
T-mobile seems to be making a lot of smart decisions lately that seem to be very customer-focused, and I hope they’ll continue, because we all know Verizon and AT&T could use some stronger competition.