Deutsche Telekom Shareholders Want Action

2-22-09-t-mobile-store

It’s only been a few days since the recent round of rumors peg Deutsche Telekom looking into acquisition of Sprint and yet, another option has presented itself. Unfortunately, though this option has a much less positive spin than the acquisition of the third and fourth place wireless players in the US would have.  Coming on the heels of the T-mobile UK merger with Orange in the UK, the two big shareholders for Deutsche Telekom are beginning to shift their attention to the US brand. While this story may be a premature for any real/serious concern, it does show that T-mobile USA needs to step their game up, NOW. The key factor here is seemingly mid 2010; the timeframe set the German Government and Blackstone private equity group, the two major shareholders of Deutsche Telekom to turn around their American division. At that point, if T-mobile has not made a turnaround in its business, that strategic decisions would be forced by the shareholders. However, at this point it needs to be made clear that any options that might be considered to transform the T-mobile USA unit are not on the table.

Information Week and Engadget

Obviously T-mobile USA needs to step up their game now and that means moving beyond Android, moving beyond the MobileMakeover and really beginning a surge of marketing toward striking down competitor advantages or for that matter, highlighting their failings. Here are some suggestions that T-mobile should take heed of…

1)      AT&T has a crappy 3G network right now, Sprint is just losing customers even on free beer night, highlight the strength of your uncongested 3G network

2)      You still have a better value, show it in more creative ways than billshrink.com

3)      Show myfaves more, the competition is matching it, remind people that you have it AND with more minutes

4)      Verizon has a stigma of being more expensive, even if they really equal pricing to AT&T, either way, show that you are less expensive and have equally good customer service

5)      JD power awards are nothing to shy away from, if car companies can advertise with them, so can you

6)      Customers can bring a phone to the network unlocked, let that be known even if they aren’t 3G offerings yet, unlocked is still a powerful incentive for first adopters who spend money on data

7)      I’m not thinking of anything else right now, brain fried but I’ll be watching the comments for suggestions!

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  • santiago

    Summerization, Please.?
    I Didn’t Understand It. =/

  • Karen

    Just wanted to clarify that TMO UK has not been sold. Its a merger with Orange UK.

    A significant and important difference. TMO will have a 50% share in the merged company.

  • Jennifer Chui

    Basically, it sounds like TMobile might be sold if things don’t turn around for them

  • RTB

    I have been on TMO since 2006. It is cheaper than ATT & VZ but the service is terrible in NYC.

  • Vince

    I’d like to see something REVOLUTIONARY: Buy an unsubsidized phone, get a plan without a subsidy priced into it. The U.S. has the highest per minute charges. While overseas the carriers’ service is more commodized than here in the States, the phone subsidy plays a role as well. But rather than leaving all the money on the table, make it a simple discount, e.g., 10% off

  • MAXIMUS

    I’ve been saying this for months while others here have been blindly raving about how great T-Mobile is. Uh, from a shareholder’s perspective things aren’t as great as many may want to believe.

    The T-Mobile US brand and been diluted with weak marketing of the company’s ‘premiere’ handsets or lack thereof. Nearly every phone T-Mobile has slated for the rest of this year has Android. Customers don’t need more crappy spec’d Android phones. All of the Android phones to date are running the same sluggish processor, have the same memory limitations, same screen and tout the microSD expansion. Have any of these manufacturers even considered giving customers an Android phone with 8, 16, or 32 GB built into the phone? How about a phone with the 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, or those nice LED screens?

    Android could be so much better if HTC, Motorola or any other vendor would beef up the specs of the phone and make phone truly worthy of competing with the iPhone. No one has. It’s really not that hard. A more powerful phone with Sense UI and T-Mobile could have a winner on it’s hands. Instead they buffoons sit in the boardroom sitting on their thumbs.

    Message to the shareholders: Want to turn the company around? FIRE ALL THE TOP KNOBS running T-Mobile US and finds some brilliant visionaries that have the balls get things done.

  • MAXIMUS

    This is the type of crap that’s been polluting the T-Mobile brand……

    http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/09/16/nokia-5130-xpressmusic-gets-official-for-t-mobile-29-99-in-stores-free-online/

    Go on any tech site, phone site, or news outlet and you’re guaranteed to see a phone on a different carrier you’re drooling over. T-Mobile’s big release of the week is listed above. Not to say that a carrier doesn’t need some expensive phones in their lineup but T-Mobile has way too many.

  • terryjohnson16

    DT needs to shake T-Mobile USA up from the ground up. Replace the marketing team, and Robert Dobson.

    They are spending so much money on the T-Mobile Touch Pro 2, but they are not advertising it. T-Mobile needs to know that not all their customers want Android, or are drawn to the MyTouch or G1.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am drawn to Android. After trying it on the G1, decided, I might have to give it some more time to mature.

    T-Mobile USA needs to change, and not by copying AT&T and Verizon pricing policies.

  • terryjohnson16

    Correction to my post. I am “not” drawn to Android.

  • ShootingBlue

    I’ve been with t-mobile a long time and have always been a happy customer. I just want to show one example where t-mobile dropped the ball. People move to where the phones are. If I didn’t have a contract and I was looking to buy a touch pro 2, would I go to t-mobile and pay $349.00 on a smaller network with less coverage or would I go to Verizon and pay $199.00 have have one of the largest cover area’s in the U.S.? It would be a no brainer for me.

    ATT would probably go out of business if it wasn’t for the iPhone. Their network sucks and their prices are ridiculous. That should just show how important a nice high end phone is.

    Customer Service is great tool to use but it really only matters to those who are already t-mobile customers. Its a great tool to keep customers on your network but it doesn’t do much to bring them in.

    Folks want good value and great phones. Sprint has recently taken over as the value carrier and has brought some great phones into their network. ATT has the iPhone. Verizon has the endless pile of money to advertise and has a great network. Where does this leave t-mobile??

    T-mobile needs a great high end exclusive handset, the days of the sidekick are over. They also need to take a look at sprints plans and start competing with their prices.

  • Michael

    I dropped my phone and busted it the other day. Took a look at the “iPhone” competition: MyTouch 3g and TouchPro 2. $200-350 on upgrade for me. Frankly, that’s not competitive with a 32GB iPhone on a comparable family plan (my wife wants a generic cheapy slider from either company with no data) This is the first time I’ve been really tempted to leave T-mob after 8 years! Now I’m not saying everyone wants an iPhone, or needs one, but the perception I have of T-mob is that they are really lagging in bringing competitive phones and 3g speeds to their network copared to the other major networks. Not too thrilled with the death star, but I’ll probably be jumping ship. . . :-(

  • terryjohnson16

    @ShootingBlue: AT&T and Verizon’s pricing are very similar.

  • rfgenerator

    What I think this means is look out as T-Mobile adds in more fees, raises plan prices, and makes upgrading phones more difficult and expensive. Phones will remain cheap for new customers, but once you are in watch for deals on subsidized phones go bye bye. Also there will be little expansion of the network except perhaps filling a few holes in urban areas. The Fatherland will squeeze T-Mobile USA dry and then sell it’s carcass. Oh yeah,prepare for more terminations o agreements between T-Mobile and it’s roaming partners. It’s “back to the future” for T-Mobile.

  • artiepants

    get the iPhone. People want the iPhone but don’t want to be on ATT. it’s the ONLY device that is going to bring people in droves.

    Secure a WebOS device from Palm.

  • artiepants

    Oh, and really, it seems like a no-brainer: Undercut the competition on data. Drop unlimited to $20, and add family data for like $30.

  • Luis

    t mobiles parent company dont play but i doubt that they would sell t mobile usa. they just wanna see t mobile on top not in dead last making them loss some money. they wanna see bigger change from t mobile usa.

    t mobile right now has the cheapest plans with more mins then at&t vz and sprint y would they rise there prices thats just dead dumb making people leave them then get new costumers.

    best thing they can do now is get more exclusive higher end phones finish there upgrade on there 3g network.

    if that dont work Deutsche Telekom should just use the money they have and buy sprint out and try something with sprints network

  • Luis

    buy sprint and allow everyone on both networks to roam on each network until they can do something about sprints cdma

    idk if thats possible but if it is they should do it

  • terryjohnson16

    But the FCC might block that to a certain extent. They overlap in many areas. Plus, I doubt they would have to divest to AT&T and/or Verizon, since both carriers have spectrum and coverage where T-Mobile/Sprint don’t. Heck, AT&T and Verizon have almost 100MHz of spectrum in some markets. That is too much.

  • mfabela

    no!!! if t-mo buys sprint than we will eventually have a teenager phone line up! i love the current line up sprint has!! NO MERGER NO MERGER STAY BLACK N YELLOW NOT PINK!

  • Jonesy

    AT&Ts hold on the iPhone will end next year… I’m sure TMO USA will pick it up. That will level the playing field.

  • Titty!

    i agree . t-mobile needs to maintain price, if not cheaper.

    i have a better acuisition, keep rates n current service pricing how itt is now.

    $24.95? for internet, for me . has gotten kinda expensive, yet still acceptable because internet is both fun, worthwise, & importantt. so yeah, good job:)

    keep everything the way itt is, and add more services like music downloads&tv. everyone has itt, but better it. sprints tv service sucks. maybe that’s what t-mobile’s working on, less talking and more walking:)

    t-mobile is tha best, you go ahead&buy sprint! fo’sho:)
    show ‘em who’s #2, work your way up to beatinq verizon outta the #1 spot. itt should be easy (:

    TEAM T-MOBILE.

  • 30014

    My take on this is that Tmo should really work on changing the perception that its a carrier for teens. As was stated in a earlier post, the sidekick days are over. If u want to run with the “big boys” then u should conduct yourself as a big boy. This article made a fantastic point that Tmo should really focus on bringing to light all of the competitions shortcomings. But above all else they must get their phone lineup up to par with everyone else and complete their 3g expansion to have a legit chance of competing with everyone else.

  • Luis

    man t mobile is not all about teenage phones if u call alot of messaging phones as teenage cells then hey sprint has a few all messaging phones.

    if they did merge phones wise wouldnt change would just keep getting better more exclusive phones.

    yo i love t mobile but for real USE ALL THAT SPECTRUM U HAVE LAYING AROUND PICKING UP DUST THE ONES YA ACQUIRED AWHILE AGO

    that could do something for t mobile usa

  • MAXIMUS

    LUIS – Sprint is already doing something about CDMA….they’re moving to 4G/WiMax. T-Mobile USA who is actually 2 1/2 years behind in deploying 3G has decided there’s no need to move to 4G for the moment. Who knows when they think it would be a good time.

    ROBERT DOBSON MUST GO……I REPEAT ROBERT DOBSON MUST GO!!!!

    The fat bastard has run the company’s reputation in the ground. Once a customer has a less than impressive experience with a company they leave and tend to never return. Sprint has been trying to stop the bleeding of subscribers for a long time now…they should have been listening to customers back then.

    I seriously think it’s going to be too little too late for T-Mobile to fix their reputation….we’re talking major overhaul in order to turn things around.

    Steve Jobs was able to pull it off with Apple but I doubt Dobson is as smart or insightful as Jobs.

  • Lambdachi493

    Pumping up TMO is a very simple proposition. BEEF UP YOUR ADVERTISING!!!!! Look at the way the G1 and now the MyTouch were advertised, or lack their of. At the time of their release these phones were the FUTURE!!! But TMO treated them just like every other device. Make it you, GREAT! But tell people how powerfull the phone is what it can do AND you can customize it. What about the TouchPro2???? TMO was the FIRST to have this phone and how many of you have seen a lick of advertising???? I damn sure havent’…Here in the corporate world I have said many times, you need to learn to toot your own horn without coming off as a know it all to advance your career…WHY IS THIS LOST ON TMO? ALL OF THE TMO US EXECS NEED TO BE FIRED! Still love Tmo though. :)

  • PoloKidd

    Why, cant Tmobile just buy Sprint. We could combine plans or better yet why doesnt tmobile have family data plan. That would only make sense. Like I spend 50 on jus internet and another 25 on text messaging. JUST FOR A BRIGHT IDEA, WHY WONT TMOBILE ADOPT THE SAME FAMILY DATA PLAN AS SPRINT AND STILL ALLOW YOU TO KEEP MYFAVE’S….SPRINTS FAMILY DATA PLAN INCLUDES UNLIMITED TXTIN AND INTERNET NATIONNWIDE ITS ALSO 130 FOR THE 1ST 2 LINES. AND 40 FOR 2 MORE LINES…THIS WOULD HAVE ME AT 170 A MONTH VERSES ME SPENDING DAMN 215 A MONTH AT TMOBILE. IM A TEACHER AND THIS IS EXTREMELY HIGH ESPECIALLY SINCE I HAVE 2 KIDS IN COLLEGE.

  • frofro

    Tmobile is cheap. Sprint may be cheaper but Sprint in my area is awful. Tmo needs to complete their 3G nationwide, have more smartphones, have a desirable plan, and advertise the awesome phones people don’t know of. They advertise with their witty commercials, the NBA, soccer, and thats probably about it, not enough really.

  • Boy Itlog

    iPhone is killing T-Mobile USA, they should do something about this.

  • Kickstar13

    The only possible way for T-Mobile USA to stop falling is to get a better phone lineup. T-Mobile USA definitely needs to make a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone on their network. This is the only thing that can save them. MOST iPhone users on AT&T HATE AT&T. I guarantee that T-Mobile will have millions of more subscribers in less than 2 months. But making a deal with Apple is going to cost T-Mobile A LOT, though it will all pay off in the end.

  • Chris

    I agree with everyone who suggested it might be a good idea to deliver some product to the consumers. The mytouch took forever to release and was overpriced and underwhelming. The Cliq is due to release…in Oct…no, Nov…wait, no, Oct? And at what price point? What’s the secrecy? Where’s the Galaxy again? Bring the products to market and do it quickly.

    I don’t know… I’m thinking about jumping across for the Hero on Sprint.

  • Kickstar13

    I think T-Mobile should focus more on the popular smartphones like Blackberry and bring them to T-Mobile.

  • Fromtheinside

    Let me tell you what the problem is. T-Mobile is a “reactive” company, not a “proactive” company. If the executive committee knew the problems were coming why didn’t they at least try to do what other companies like Apple have done in the process. It’s not that T-Mobile USA is unprofitable like the UK version was. It is still very profitable. The concern is in the drop in revenue per subscriber. On the inside this is what everyone is talking about. Increasing the monthly recurring charges. But let’s think about what happened the quarter that this drop occurred in. Unlimited Loyalty Plan. Within a month of this plan happening close to 15% of the subscriber base had taken advantage of this plan. GREAT deal for customers but anyone could have seen the short term costs of such a plan. And the fact that the plan didn’t require any additional contract terms on the part of the customers doesn’t help either.

    Instead of pointing out the long term positives in this change that caused a great deal of this current “financial crisis” in the quarterly numbers, the company just reacts as if the world is coming to an end & everything must be changed to try to fix this problem.

    Another case in point, twice this year T-Mobile has changed it’s mind on policy changes when it “found out” they would be unpopular. Not being able to backdate your rate-plan to the beginning of the current cycle to help cover overages that haven’t yet billed & the Paper Bill Fee. Anyone with half a quarter of a brain could’ve told the company that these two policies would be reacted to negatively. HELLO!!

    As far a phones go, unless the merger with Sprint goes forward, I don’t believe T-mobile has much more to offer than the kind of handsets it is currently. Handset manufactures make there money on the sale of phones. If they can get there top of the lines on the largest networks but sell them to the networks for a little less then the law of volume makes more money for them & greater market penetration for higher sales down the road. Verison 90+ million, ATT 85+ million, Sprint 45+ million, T-mobile 33+ million. Who would you decide to send your best to. If T-Mobile had the extra 45 million from Sprint, it would be very hard for Apple to NOT allow T-Mobile to have the iPhone instead of Verison. Apple will not have to create a CDMA version for just one company & would have nearly as many customers to sell to as well. Win for Apple, T-Mobile Inc. & current Sprint customers as they will have a much better time dealing with T-Mobile than the current Customer No-Service they get now.

  • Sprint on 042410

    First, I have had zero problems with Sprint customer service since switching. I go to the Sprint forums but they’re not as fun since more people seem to be happy. Second, Sprint’s Any Mobile Anytime for everything data subscribers. Don’t think My Faves stacks up too well to that. I have 1500 minutes and 4 lines and with unlimited calling to EVERY cell phone in the U.S. I may use 100 minutes per month for the next 2 years. Data speeds are great and the Pre is on par with my previous G1. I’ll stay with Sprint and pay about 70 less per month for the same service I would have with T-Mobile. Also, NFL Sunday Ticket on the Pre, can’t beat that!

  • Fromtheinside

    If you never have a problem with Sprint then more power to ya. But once you do, you will be in a nightmare. I can’t tell you how many time I talk to former Sprint customers who have had problems that Sprint will not resolve, period. Which is why they are hemorrhaging so much. Good Luck.

  • Marc

    maybe they should get better phones that will attract customers, and also better upgrade prices to keep current customers.

  • matt

    the problem that I see is the constant request for the iphone. Fantastic device and all but the advertising for that device is paid for by apple costing AT&T very little if any money to get the name of the product out there. HTC and Blackberry make some incredible products but they can sell them to anyone. T-mobile needs to find some manufactuor (Microsoft perhaps) sign a nice long exclusive agreement and force the manufacter to have their own investment to the success of the product. The zune phone or the psp phone would be such large indeveors by either Microsoft or Sony that they will have to advertise to make their product survive and thus increase the profitibility of T-mobile.

  • 30014

    Kickstart13, are u really serious? ” Tmo should focus on the popular smartphones like blackberry”. Why would someone change carriers for a phone that is available to all carriers. Regardless if its the storm or the bold you. basically have the same phone because the os is almost identical on all blackberries. Sprint on 042110 if u are with sprint now why are u still posting on a Tmo based blog. Please leave traitor.

  • TMoMgr

    How do you grow your business during a recession… That is the question that T-mo needs to answer. Right now people who have the grandfathered 49.99 family plan are going into store asking if there is anything they can do to reduce their bills. Give people a great value for their money and they will come. Here is the way to make it work…. ADVERTISE IT!!! You cannot expect customers to advertise for you. T-Mo has had this thought process for many years – anyone remember caller tunes??? Released at least a year before anyone else offered a similar service. The numbers for it being added were low. Advertise the things people are going to notice… the phones and the cost…. JD Powers awards are great, but really; is that something that is going to help you make a purchasing decision? Honestly, No! Finally, the Iphone… yes it’s great, yes it has forever changed wireless and no it will not turn T-Mo around. The Iphone has made its mark and it will forever be associated with that (evil) company (i hate). T-Mo did something a few years back; some big-wigs went to Taiwan for a visit, and by the end of the trip the Shadow was born. Now i’m not talking about the Shadow itself, what i am talking about is the fact that a carrier went to a manufacturer and told them what they wanted. And it was actually made (not a great example but it proves my point none the less). Go to the manufacturers give them the specs of the iphone and tell them to do better. Oh yeah no win-mo…. lets wait until Microsoft figures out what a handset os is supposed to do (turn on in one attempt and not take a full minute to boot, just basically work).

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Well having had cell phones since 1989 and having been with all the carriers, the problem is the economy, not the handset line-up.

    – People are cutting back and not spending.

    – People I know are making due with what they have.

    – People are making the stuff they have last longer.

    (As a sign of the times shoe and car repair businesses are thriving).

    – When Nokia’s quarterly profits were down 90% this year, that tells me people are not buying phones.

    – When Apple/AT&T slashed the price of the iPhone, that tells me people are not buying high end handsets.

    – When a well-made, expensive to manufacture phone (the TP2) is sold by Verizon for $199 on a two-year contract, and $350 by T-Mobile (when it should sell for $500 to $600 on a two-year deal), that tells me people are not buying handsets.

    – And there are only so many people willing to wait in line and over pay for an iPhone (and get reamed on a two-year plan). IMHO people have wised up. They are no longer willing to get a free phone only to get reamed on a two year plan. That’s the power of the Net, people talking about getting duped or getting consumed with the must-have phone, only to end up paying $3500 for a plan over two years.

    For the majority of consumers, who can barely make ends meet each month, $3000 to $4000 for two years of cell phone service is being stupid.

    – Bottom line is that people want a great phone for $200 and they want cheap plans. The fastest way to impending doom is for T-Mo to raise prices and nickel and dime customers with charges here and charges there.

    – Like others said, T-Mo should be lowering its unlimited data plan price, not raising it. With lower prices they can attract and increase customer share. In these hard economic times people will flock to where the savings are. They are not flocking to whoever has the hottest handset. People are shopping for the plans, not the phones.

    – Fact is there are few people who will stick with AT&T simply because it has the iPhone. Those days are over.

    McDonald’s became a success because it sold cheap food, but to millions (and eventually billions) of customers.

    The key to success in these hard times is to become known as the low-priced carrier.

    The worst thing T-Mo could do is to start “taxing” its customers to death.

    Consumers react and take action when getting reamed.

    Look what happened to the airlines. With fare hikes and customers being charged for toilet tissue, so to speak, people stopped flying. Gone were the vacation flights.

    When fuel got to $4 a gallon, people stopped driving, except for essential commuting.

    And with banks pulling their stunts (decreasing credit limits and raising interest rates) people no longer buy on credit.

    And with cable TV services, people are disconnecting their sets (and using Netflix).

    Cable modems are being discarded for way less expensive DSL services.

    If T-Mo starts taxing its customers they are going to cut back to having only the most basic of services and eventually they will go to which ever carrier has the lowest rates.

  • owenslady

    tHERES NO QUESTION THEY NEED TO MAKE THE DATA PLANS MORE AFFORDABLE ESPECIALLY FOR FAMILY PLANS OR BUSINESS PLANS . WE HAVE CREATED THESE WIFI NETWORKS WITHIN OUR FAMILY AND BLACKBERRY ARE THE ONLY PHONES THAT WE ARE ABLE TO ALL STAY CONNECTED WITH A MINIMUM COST. MY KIDS ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE AND A LOT OF TIMES THEY NEED THEIR PHONES TO WORK THRU ALL THE CHOICES FOR STAYING CONNECTED THRU SOCIAL NETWORKS AND SUCH SO A FAMILY UNLIMITED DATA PLAN WOULD KEEP ME A HAPPY CUSTOMER I LOVE TO SEE WHATS GOING ON WITH ALL MY ONLINE NETWORKS SO THE CLIC SEEMS TO BE A TOTALLY COOL PHONE WHAT HAPPENED TO RIM THOUGH I THOUGHT THEY WERE LEADING EDGE IN THIS WIFI WORLD WHY HAVENT THEY BRANDED A PHONE WITH TMOBILE AND THE HOTSPOT UMA COVERAGE.. THAT IS THE VERY BEST OF THE BEST THERE UMA ACCESS THRU WIFI ON YOUR PHONE NO MATTER WHAT!