Have you heard the expression – oh what a difference a year makes – well truer words were never spoken if you are talking about T-Mobile. Chief Operating officer Jim Alling, speaking at an investor's conference in New York, took a stroll down T-Mobile's 2013 memory lane and was amazed at all the company has accomplished. When you are speaking to investors that is what you have to do – instill confidence in the "hand that feeds you." He said they went from losing 2 million customers in 2012 to actually gaining customers again.
He attributes this to two main decisions that T-Mobile made – The first was to expand their 4G LTE coverage with the spectrum they received from the failed AT&T merger, and they now cover more than 203 million people in 254 markets. The second was to listen to customers and offering them the services they wanted. He said:
"Overall the 'Uncarrier' story is about listening to our customers and getting rid of their pain points. People didn't like getting stuck in a contract. They felt locked in, like they couldn't get away. We got rid of it. But if we hadn't put ourselves in a position where the network was there, there would have been a lot dissatisfaction."
In March, T-Mobile start on its plan, by first announcing that they would eliminate contracts – and the "Uncarrier" movement began. The next piece of the puzzle was their early upgrade program, called JUMP!, and Alling claims that more than 2.2 million existing and new customers have signed up for that program. The third and final piece was announced in October where T-Mobile introduced free international roaming for customers traveling abroad. But changes continued when Allings said they needed to do something regarding tables because:
"We weren't competing in the tablet market at all really. But we heard people say they wanted to be more mobile with their tablets and not be tied to a Wi-Fi hotspot. So we made the offer of free data available." So if you own a tablet, they will give you 200MB for free data per month.
On many high-end smartphones, you can now purchase them for $0 down and simply pay a higher monthly payment, another request made by customers – now they can get the device they want without any up-front money. Alling said once they started to get rid of contracts, they wanted to continue the momentum – "We look at what irritates customers about their carrier, and we knock those out."
Their philosophy seems to be working – the third quarter results show that the company added one million new customers to its network, and about 648,000 of those are the highly coveted postpaid customers that tend to have a stronger credit history and are willing to pay more each month. Alling said this approach has not only helped T-Mobile keep existing customers, but also is attracting new ones.
Let us know in the comments or on Google+ if you have taken advantage of T-Mobile's "Uncarrier" options or the JUMP! program. Choosing a carrier comes down to coverage – do you get good coverage from T-Mobile in your area, please let us know.