Remember the time Deutsche Telekom sold T-Mobile US to AT&T? Because they wanted to get out of the US so bad, but that deal ended up being rejected by the US regulators? Now fast forward to 2016, and Deutsche Telekom is looking to use T-Mobile US as a template for how to bring up their other companies, mainly T-Mobile Netherlands. You see, T-Mobile Netherlands have lost over a million subscribers in the past three years. Look a bit like T-Mobile US before John Legere took over in 2012? Meanwhile, T-Mobile US is adding close to 2 million each and every quarter (some quarters, adding more than that). Bloomberg is reporting that Deutsche Telekom may be using this same disruptive strategy in the Netherlands for T-Mobile. However the report also notes that it’s not set in stone and DT may decide not to do it.
In the Netherlands, T-Mobile is already facing some pretty stiff competition. You have the market leaders Royal KPN NV and Vodafone (who used to own part of Verizon Wireless). There’s also Tele2 AB which is a smaller company, but still rivaling T-Mobile Netherlands, and is already using a pretty aggressive strategy, similar to T-Mobile US. Here in the US, T-Mobile has done a lot more than just lowered prices and made some aggressive promotion plans. They have also been seeking to eliminate customer pain points. Like contracts, overages, international roaming, and the list goes on. But perhaps more important than all of that, T-Mobile US has been aggressive in rolling out LTE, gaining more sub-1GHz spectrum and rolling that out, and now in the Incentive auction for the 600MHz spectrum. And it all ties together into making T-Mobile US a big competitor to Verizon and AT&T, who are already feeling the aggressiveness behind magenta.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see this “uncarrier” approach used in other countries, especially by smaller companies. However the real question will be if it will work or not. And in some countries it may not, while in others, it could be a big deal. Deutsche Telekom hasn’t made this official just yet, it’s still just a report and should be treated as such.