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Already noted this morning was the launch of the webconnect 3G and the hopeful impact it will have on showcasing T-mobile as a true 3G power. However, Sascha Segan over at Gearlog has some thoughts on how T-mobile may have just bungled this launch. He is dead on (in my opinion) that T-mobile is not focusing this data card on those with whom its wireless services depend so much on, families, students and people who want to save money. Instead, by placing its price point directly in line with the competition, its attempting to capture the road warrior market with whom they have struggled to connect with.
- The wrong pricing. T-Mobile’s 3G network only covers about 100 million people – less than half the coverage of Verizon Wireless’s. Yet they’re charging the same as Verizon, $60/month, with the same 5 GB monthly data cap. So why not pick the carrier with the better coverage? Meanwhile, Cricket remains the only innovator pushing 3G
- The wrong target market. With a $60/month price point, a 5GB cap and a $200/GB overage charge, T-Mobile is clearly going for the road warrior, occasional business traveler market. But that’s not T-Mobile’s market. T-Mobile’s greatest strength is among families, students, and individuals who like low prices, cute phones and great customer service. T-Mobile isn’t likely to win many businesses over from the other three carriers with a combination of poor coverage and high rates.
- Awful roaming policies. T-Mobile’s Huawei E181 modem is a quad-band UMTS device, able to roam on AT&T’s network here in the US and on many foreign networks. T-Mobile completely bungles roaming. First, they turned off AT&T roaming in the US. Then, they offered no international roaming bucket plans – only an option to be charged $15 per megabyte. That’s $15,000 per gigabyte. Who wants to roam at $15,000 per gigabyte?
- No synergy. T-Mobile’s greatest strength is their network of 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. The Huawei E181 comes with GPS functionality, so you’d think T-Mobile would make it easy to find a hotspot near you. Not so – the webConnect stick comes with the GPS disabled. Fortunately, T-Mobile says they’re working on this one.
- No tethering. T-Mobile still doesn’t have any official plans for tethering mobile phones to PCs. You can tether without permission, but your access may get cut off at any time. The three other big carriers permit tethering, and they even make some money off the practice.
Having read his thoughts over, what do you think? Did T-mobile bungle this launch?