Five Recommendations For T-Mobile USA In 2012

I came across an article yesterday afternoon from Matthew Miller, a ZDNet Contributor and T-Mobile customer whom I also had the pleasure of meeting this week at CES. Miller’s post highlights five simple recommendations for T-Mobile in 2012 to help solidify their user base and re-establish themselves as a player in the US wireless market. T-Mobile highlighted at their 2012 CES event that they continue to expand their HSPA+ coverage, rollout new devices and heavily focus their message on value, value and value. Like Miller, we believe those are all good approaches, but there is more T-Mobile can do to stay competitive and become an underdog nipping at the heels of Sprint.

T-Mobile’s Chief Executive painted a picture for T-Mobile to work furiously to keep customers and while some of their ideas have been revealed, there is still a lot of work to be done. So what can T-Mobile do? Here’s what Miller thinks they can do and we have to say, we agree on all 5 points.

  1. Shared Family Data: This one is a little tougher to sell, especially since Humm just went on the record with the New York Times saying Shared Family Data wouldn’t be coming to T-Mobile. That being said, a rightly priced shared data plan could end up boosting T-Mobile’s place as a value carrier, especially with the industry leaders AT&T and Verizon planning on introducing their own shared family data plans later this year.
  2. Notification To Primary Account Holder Before ANY Account Actions Are Taken: Yup, we’re looking at you billing date changes and pay-per-use data charges introduced in 2011. The good news is T-Mobile acknowledges these mistakes and plans to make it a major part of reducing churn in 2012. Miller recommends T-Mobile start a policy where NO actions or changes to the account are made without the permission of the primary account holder.
  3. Remove Upgrade Free: Yeah we get it, this fee is an industry staple. T-Mobile should do away with them, making upgrading a seamless and inexpensive experience. The only charge to the customer should be that of the equipment they are purchasing. If they don’t want to do away with them altogether, do away with the fee for long-time customers to help cut churn and encourage upgrades.
  4. Loyal Customer Upgrade Bonuses: T-Mobile, along with almost every carrier in the US lets customers receive a full subsidy on a new phone once every two years. Sometimes those discounts begin at 20-22 months. Unfortunately the timeframe for the introduction of new phones is super fast today and well below the 24 month timeframe that sounded good at the time the standard upgrade cycle was introduced years ago. How about 12 month upgrades? How about a program similar to Verizon’s former New Every Two program which offered a $100 discount on upgrades for two-year contracts?
  5. Work With Apple To Get The iPhone On Their Network: Yeah I know, you’re tired of hearing about the iPhone…we’ve been talking about it a lot this week. Except, if T-Mobile potentially sold 1 million iPhone’s to their 33 million customers, that’s a big deal. An even bigger deal would be the customers who wouldn’t leave because the iPhone is on the network. We make a big deal out of having the iPhone, because T-Mobile’s CEO says the iPhone is the single biggest influencer of T-Mobile’s churn.

There are other additions we could make to this list, and we recognize that some of you will agree to disagree about these 5 recommendations. The point is, we’re trying to show T-Mobile what the end-user thinks, and where frustrations truly exist. What do you think? What would you add to this list?

ZDNet

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  • http://www.absolutefiction.com/ Jed Tylman

    And why not a decent Windows Phone device with a sliding keyboard?
    (From Nokia maybe)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGER4REHCAURZGRA7Z4H25HEHA Mike Uniontown

    uh PLEASE DT IN GERMANY  PLEASE….THE UTTER TRASH CUSTOMER SERVICE THAT ATT WAS USING IN ALABAMA AND SOUTH CAROLINA (I KNOW THOSE OUTSOURCERS BY NAME) WERE RUINING YOUR GOOD NAME IN CUSTOMER SERVICE. FROM 2002 TO 2009 WE WERE VERY HAPPY  BUT WHEN  I NEEDED TO RENEW THE SERVICE AND OPTIONS WERE TERRIBLE AND WHEN MY G2 FAILED AFTER 4 MONTHS THE ROBO ANSWERS FROM SAID TRASH ABOVE WAS ANYTHING BUT THE QUALITY OF CUSTOMER SERVICE WE HAD FOR THE FIRST 7 YEARS.   NOW I SEE THAT YOU HAVE AND ARE REHIRING THOSE MAGNIFICENT FOLKS IN THE NORTHWEST UNITED STATES…MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU THOSE FOLKS  ARE INTELLIGENT..NOW UNTIE THEIR HANDS SO THEY CAN TAKE CARE OF GOOD CUSTOMERS OK?  AND NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER TALK ABOUT SELLING TO ATT TRASH EVER AGAIN….THEY REALLY SUX  OK?  HAVE YOUR EXPERTS TRACE MY IP SO I CAN ID MYSELF AND TELL YOU ALL ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MY HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE WITH THE HIRED ******()))) TRASH FROM ALABAMA OK?   NOW I LIVE IN PENNSYLVANIA AND HAVE ALL MY LIFE. I HATE VERIZON AND THERE ARE 2 TOWERS WITH 2G THAT ARE GSM AND BEGGING FOR AN UPGRADE OK? AND THEN I WILL REALLY BE LIKE A PIG IN POO/…..OR SHOULD I SAY A WEINER IN THE SCHNITZEL!!!!!??

    ANYWAY PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE RETORE THAT GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE WE HAD FOR 7 YEARS AND NEVER EVER THINK ABOUT SELLING TO ATT (SELFISH FILTHY TRASH)

    PS AND IS THERE ANYWAY I CAN GET A COMPARABLE PHONE TO REPLACE MY G2 ..SINCE I HAVE BEEN PAYING FOR A PHONE WITH TALK TEXT AND DATA THAT I HAVE ZERO USAGE FOR FOR THE LAST 12 MONTHS?

    PPS  I  RAN CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR THE WORLDS 4TH LARGEST TELECOM FOR 4 YEARS AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY…I KNOW WHAT I SPEAK OF

    • Anonymous

      Cruise control activated
      YES CAPTAIN!

    • tmotech

      What the hell are you talking about? “Have your experts trace my IP?” “Hired trash from Alabama?” You’re am idiot that obviously doesn’t know squat other than “LOL I BROKE MY FONE AND THEY WUNT GIB ME FREE ONE THOSE TRASH CUSTOMER OUTSOURCERS.”
      I don’t believe for one second that you “ran” customer service for anyone, and you sure as HELL don’t know what you speak of.

  • hankchanaski

    In what time frame do we hope t-mobile will implement these 5 ideas?

  • Anonymous

    I disagree that the iPhone isn’t a big deal.  It’s a household name.  No other phone really is a household name.  My 83 year old Korean grandmother knows what an iPhone is.

    You have to cater to your average user.  They don’t get a Powerpoint presentation detailing the advantages/disadvantages of each OS or manufacturer.  They just get drawn to a name or fad or a friggin’ Photoshopped picture with shiny lights.

    My parents are on AT&T since T-Mobile doesn’t work at all at their home.  I laid out the difference between the three major OSes (iOS, Android, WP) for my mom’s last upgrade.  Mom didn’t even bother to look at the list.  iPhone.  It’s what she wants.  Why?  Cause she heard it’s ‘good’.  That’s it.  Yeah, you can argue all day about which OS or manufacturer is better but at the end of the day, the one thing you can’t deny is the popularity of the iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    Wow… your argument just lost all traction.  Kudos.

    +1 J.

  • Anonymous

    So….it appears the consensus is for T-Mobile to give everything away for free. Sounds like a brilliant business plan that should do them well moving forward.  Do you people even read what you type?  I know it would be awesome for everyone that’s been a customer for more than 2 days to get a free phone, but understand that T-Mobile, and all cellular companies for that matter, are in this to make money. And Re: iPhone….Sprint has shown that you need roughly $20 billion to get in bed with Apple.  Dont see T-Mo taking that route anytime soon….seeing as it worked out so well for Sprint’s bottom line.

  • Mad_philosopher

    agreed…

  • Vinnyj

    Very simple, get the I-Phone. I am not a I-Phone user but the number of customers that would jump ship to T-Mobile when the phone is available is big. If they can land a deal with those stiffs then they would be sitting in a new game. They have a solid HSPA+ Network that will get stronger, just get that lousy I-Phone.
    I’m a long time Android hacker who will never screw around with that locked down kids toy but there are millions who love it. Get the I-Phone and this company will see a very bright future.

    • Littlesis1774

      I agree

  • Anonymous

    5 things Tmo should do in 2012
    1. Get the Freakin iPhone already. Bunch of my friends left Tmo to go to Sprint to get the iPhone. I have noticed several mobile phone users are young and want to have what everyone else has…THE iPhone.
    2. Change the upgrade time to 12 months. I remember Tmo did that a while ago.
    3. Stop spending money on advertisement and spend it on the network. I have been with Tmo since the begining. i would like to say I never get dropped calls to our competitors. I want my phone working 99% of the places I use my phone, including data.
    4. Do what no other provider does. Take a loss on the prices of the phones and get more paying customers to join. Example: HTC Amaze $99, Galaxy S2 $99 dollars. Customers have an option to purchase an Amaze for $199 or an iphone for $199. get my point.
    5. Get back the customer service Tmo had awhile ago. I remember everytime I called my problems were solved. Now I have to put a fight to get things done.

    • Greg

      It would be great if they could do that, but they just can’t afford to give things away that cheap that often.
      They run on a VERY slim profit margin. The last time I did the math, they were making on average $36 profit per customer per year. Think about those numbers a bit. If you call in and manage to talk them into just an extra $50 discount on the new phone you want, poof! They’ve gone from making money on you this year to losing it.

      • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

        It’s even slimmer now. I think it’s just the $18 upgrade fee now (for profit from consumer). They have to pay even more for devices than they did before 4G and the iPhone, so costs have gone way up. 

        • Greg

          I believe it.

          When it comes to situations like this, people tend to think only about themselves. “Well, T-Mobile is a big company that makes lots of money, and I’ve been a subscriber for (however) long. They owe me!”

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          With that kind of profit margin, it’s kind of amazing that T-Mobile is on track to make $6.2 billion (with roughly $2.7 billion in profit) for FY 2011.

        • Ashton

          No they’re not.  They have less customers this year than last year and they hit $1 billion net profit in 2010.  They didn’t increase their profit by almost double.  Can you give links, because up to this point they’ve made a little more per quarter but just a little.

  • Rashisiders

    Here’s a brilliant idea: bring in high end Windows Phone devices!

  • Adam

    Get the damn i phone on your network, your the only one who doesn’t have it. You like money don’t you?? yeah i thought so. So get off your asses and get the i phone. Oh and do it before march 7th cuz thats when my plan expires and i would like to renew with the i phone.

    • Tbyrne

      Adam, Adam, calm down. I’m sure Apples doing everything in their power to get the iPhone to T-Mobile.

  • Twcamc

    you want the ipphone go pay a pretty penny to the other carriers. don’t take our bandwidth with half eaten apple products!

    • Greg

      We might run into a bandwidth crunch if a people went from using “dumb” phones to iphones, but statistically, they use quite a bit less on average than Android ones do, so I don’t think there’d be too much trouble there.

      • Jaya_on

        Good point. So tmo getting iPhone could potentially free up bandwidth assuming some android users switched to iPhone.

  • Android4lyfe.com

    The upgrade fee is dumb, just add it into the price of the phone or get rid of it already, causes more trouble for us reps at the store as it is, and I’m all for the family data. If we had a family data package it would not only kill the competitors but also save money for the consumers!!!

    • Greg

      See the comment a little bit below this from Conan Kudo. Their profit margins are shrinking. Having inexpensive service is great, but they still need to turn a profit.

    • CDogg

      How about telling your customers in the store about the fee when you sell them a phone instead of “ohh call customer service or customer loyalty to get it waived.” after the fact.  There  s a best practice for ya.

  • Winski

    With the COMPLETELY inept management team that T-Mumble US has in place today, it’s likely that they’ll start charging ALL customers $50 per month just because they WANT to… Kinda like the $2 ‘convenience’ fee that Verizon tried to institute not long ago…. The CEO’s a moron… they have the WORSE CMO in the history of mankind, and now the CTO actually tried to get positive with the rest of the world and the company slaps him silly – in public.

    What’s next, the new Motorola Flip Phone that I gave up to a re-cycling facility 15 years ago as the latest and greatest device ever introduced by anyone – anywhere?? These people are idiots!

    • Tbyrne

      The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

  • macman37

    When it comes to getting the iPhone, please understand a few things: 1) Although both the Qualcomm MDM 6600 {the one used for 3G networks (iPhone 4S uses 6610) and the Qualcomm 9600 {the one that will be used for 4G networks} support the AWS bands, T-Mobile CEOs need to understand that having support for the network’s frequency bands are just one-half of the equation in getting the iPhone.  2) The other half of the equation in getting the iPhone is having 4G LTE deployed in enough number of markets that will satisfy Apple; Apple’s decision in releasing a 4G LTE iPhone is dependant upon the current deployment of 4G LTE and how its projected number will be in relation to their probable release date.  Currently, Verizon Wireless has 190 markets with 4G LTE deployed, AT&T has 15 markets with 4G LTE deployed, and Sprint says that they will have 4 markets with 4G LTE deployed by the middle of this year.

    To the heads of T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom, get more aggressive in your deployment plan of 4G LTE.  It’s great to read how you would want to reconfigure some of your current number of the AWS bands for 4G LTE, but you need to partner up with someone as well.  The Dish Network, one your potential partners, and probably the best, has already expressed interest in working with you on this.  There are now rumors that they may partner up with AT&T; and that is the last thing that most of your subscribers would want to happen.  Please do not take too long in making a partnering decision for this deployment of 4G LTE, as well as the deployment of this new network technology.  We, your current subscribers and potential subscribers, do not want to see T-Mobile missing out on and not being an carrier option for the iPhone 5.

  • CDogg

    The problem with getting the iphone is the incredible amount of customers calling in stating “loyalty” who just upgraded to the SGII will now want the iphone with a discount.  I look forward to the day T-Mobile gets the iphone but I dont look forward to the reps taking the calls from the customers who think they are entitled.  Those are going to be some long days for the reps.

  • Nick Abdullah

    I wish people would just get over this iphone already.

  • koolaid

    They’re about to lose me if they don’t get the Galaxy Nexus.