Guest Editorial From A T-Mobile Front-Line Employee, Three Ways To Boost T-Mobile Up



Editors Note: This post is a guest editorial written by a T-Mobile front-line employee regarding life on — the front-line. Tackling three separate, but equally important issues, this anonymous guest posts hopes to explain why the iPhone is important, why phone manufacturers need to step up their game and how there is actual “value” in T-Mobile’s Value Plans. Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of TmoNews.  

Reporting From The Frontlines

I remember sitting in a packed hotel banquet hall when T-Mobile CEO Phillip Humm stood before an audience of a thousand of his T-mobile frontline men and women and informed us all of our 2011 goal of being “challengers”. The excitement was high, and we left that place believing that if we all did our part, we really could make a difference.

The feeling wouldn’t last too long as only a couple of week’s later At&t would announce its plans to acquire T-Mobile USA. To put it bluntly, if felt like a smack in the face. For a few months afterwards, uncertainty of what was to come began to sink in and the company really didn’t feel like itself anymore. It felt as if the acquisition had already gone through.

On the frontlines we didn’t feel like the same work force who helped to earn all of the consecutive JD Powers and Associates awards for customer service. We were just another cog in the machine… a machine that was getting prepped to be handed over to At&t.

Eventually, when reality finally settled in, and more details as to how the acquisition would play out in the long run, instead of dragging our feet any longer we lowered are heads and buckled down for the long haul. Customers would come in say “hey where’s the iPhone, didn’t At&t buy you guys” and we’d jokingly say back “no, we bought them.” It was our way of making light of the situation while continuing to press on; business as usual.

Now that the acquisition has been canceled faster than a bad sitcom on NBC, this year looks as bright as ever. I’ve seen comments on articles all over the web about how T-Mobile has “changed”, or  how it’s “not what it used to be” especially when it comes to how we treat our customers, but you should all know that not only will we bounce back, we’re going to be better than ever.

While the acquisition has been eliminated from the equation, not everything is perfect. We have some issues that need to be addressed, and quickly. I’ll outline three of the biggest. If met, these adjustments can help mold 2012 into one of the best years ever for T-Mobile.
The iPhone Effect.

I’m not going to sit here crying and pleading like most about why T-Mobile needs the iPhone, because the reality is that five years later Cupertino’s iconic device is still selling strong and for the whole time T-Mobile continued to carry on without it. I’m not a naive card-carrying member of the Android army either, actually I’m one of the poor saps that paid $600 (on-contract) when the iPhone originally launched in 2007, so trust when I say that I have plenty of love for iOS. And while I think it’s a compelling piece of hardware, and understand why people have such a strong emotional connection to it, there are many misconceptions about what the iPhone would actually bring to T-Mobile.

Some folks are under the impression that if the device makes it to the Magenta side of the fence it would become some kind of golden goose that will catapult the company out of 4th place. Realistically, this just isn’t so. What the iPhone will do is help the company reduce churn, significantly.

I wish I earned a dollar every time a four or five line family plan customer comes in to my store to request their account number (for an obvious port out to another carrier). I try to provide as many reasons as possible as to why they should not leave the T-Mobile family using value, devices, and customer service as my ammunition. Even going as far as filling out value comparison charts to show what they would be paying for comparable (or in most cases less) services if they switched.

And then it happens…

Then the customer’s son, daughter, husband, father, — whoever — will say something along the lines of “I don’t care” or “they don’t have it, let’s go.” Then the account holder apologizes, thanks me for my time, and walks out. I always feel bad for these account holders, who – because of other people on their account, end up shelling out up to six hundred, eight hundred, sometimes one thousand dollars worth of cancellation fees (5 lines), just for an iPhone.

The thing is that if T-Mobile had the device, it would eliminate the need for that conversation all together. Those who are fixated on the iPhone would be pleased, and those who chose T-Mobile for being the value player in the market will continue to be happy and satisfied. It’s really that simple. If we ever “needed” the iPhone, it would only be for that.

Phone manufacturers need to step their game up.

In October of this year, the Android platform will be celebrating it’s 4th birthday. In that time we’ve seen phones in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Android has evolved from a “me too” mobile O.S. to being the king of the mobile landscape (and marketshare). While AT&T was busy milking their iPhone exclusivity, we were busy launching the first ever Android phone ( the G1), but since then it seems like we’ve sat and watched from the sidelines as every other carrier would release a new flagship Android phone, one after the other.

While things have managed to get better recently (2011 provided for a decent smartphone lineup from T-Mobile), it seems as though the OEMs prefer to put themselves directly in the line of fire by launching their very best devices on carriers who’s customers are already infatuated with the iPhone and could now care less about Android.

And then when these devices, from all of the various OEMs, fail to leave a dent on sales numbers, what do they do? They sell even more of their more “iconic” phones to those same carriers.

Phone manufactures need to wake up. Following the release of the Siri-powered 4S, according to NPD, Apple is gunning for the top spot in U.S. market share. And while T-Mobile remains to be iPhone-less for the time being, now that the At&t acquisition is a thing of the past, it seems like those days of lacking the iPhone are probably numbered.

As an OEM, whenever you look T-Mobile’s way, what you should be seeing, is opportunity. And it’s something that you need to relish in while you still can. Cost is now a non-issue as the value plans are designed perfectly to compliment the budget of any buyer.

Bring your “iconic” devices to a carrier who’s customers actually want them, or miss out completely.

Value Plans For the Win.

The final piece of the puzzle are the value plans, and mostly the complexity that surrounds them. Customers have enough issues understanding them, but as a sales force, representatives in stores need to be taught the appropriate way of presenting them in the first place. Simply saying “its cheaper… but you have to pay full price for the phone and you never get an upgrade” is certainly not the most appealing way to present it; but from what I’m seeing, hearing, and reading, its apparently a common occurrence out there.

In the current economic climate people are looking for any way to save, and right now in wireless, there isn’t a single rate plan on any national carrier that comes close to the value plans at T-Mobile. To make it work and really make sense, customers need to be shown the actual value. And of course there are still those one-off cases where a customer’s legacy plan with subsidized phones is still the best thing for him or her, but those particular cases aren’t too common. The minute you start talking data and features, the value plans are your best friend.

Just for laughs here’s a theoretical rate plan if the iPhone were made available on T-Mobile. IPhone 4S retails for $599. On Value, the initial down payment would be $199 (just like everywhere else), with a 20 month payment plan of a flat rate of 20 bucks per month. The rate plan would be 59.99 (plus any applicable taxes) along with the device payment. So that’s 79.99 for 20 months, then it lowers to just 59.99 for the other four months on a 24 month agreement. Over the 2 year contract, the customer would pay $1,839.76 (excluding taxes) plus the initial $199 that was plunked down at the point of sale which gives us a grand total of 2,038.76.

So what would it cost for the same device and comparable services from the carriers who “subsidize” the phone cost? I’m using the unlimited calling plans as an example, and not the mobile-to-mobile “unlimited” plans that At&t and Sprint are pushing. The results shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Verizon: $119.99 for 24 months, $199 for the phone gives you a total of 3,078.76. AT&T: $114.99 for 24 months, $199 for the phone give you a total of 2,958.76. Sprint: $109.99 for 24 months, $199 for the phone give you total of $2,838.76. While Sprint may be the lowest of the three, the total cost of the plan and phone over 2 years is still $800 dollars more than our beloved value plan. I don’t know about you but I can think of a ton of things that I’d rather do with $800.

The numbers speak for themselves. The savings over the competition is as clear as day. Now, it’s just on T-Mobile to make sure that customers are educated and shown what really sets magenta apart from the rest. Value plans for the win.

Looking Ahead.

These are just a few of things that can help T-Mobile in the next year. I’m sure there are plenty more thoughts, ideas, and suggestions that can be brought to the forefront, but these three —  straight from the frontlines — should be at the very top of the list. If addressed, T-Mobile will be on the up and up for 2012 and finally be truly ready to be a challenger.

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  • CO_yeti

    Value Plans are just a way to T-Mobile to get the loses of subsidized phones off the books… Customers are smart enough to see that.   Also the Value plans only really hold up their “value” when compared to unlimited plans, most people do not need unlimited minutes. Finally, where did the corporate discounts go with Tmo. If you work for even an average sized company you can save 15-20% on At&t or Verizon, that makes up a lot of the cost savings Tmo has over other carriers. 

    • Tmobie

      Even with a 20% discount on AT&T or Verizon, in most cases you will still pay more per month then on T-Mobile with no discounts.

    • guest

      Tmo offers government and corporate discounts…

  • more churn 2cum

    Sorry but cust serv has really deteriorated & you cant just ignore that. I have a long list of incorrect & even unprofessional things Ive been told. Prepaid outsourced is joke. Forums show ECR telling customers to leave; reps lying & not following thru; handset issues that Tmo refuses to resolve; and I had a rep last week tell me he was hanging up cuz he had been online for 4 minutes. Value plans also are too confusing to employees and customer. Do a promotion like Vrz where u double data or knock $10 a month (thats what first got me to join). And you cant pick and choose what plans you want to compare. For $80 (or 70 on Sero plan), sprint gives gou 450(or 500) daytime minutes to landlines, free mobile to ANY mobile, free nights after 7p (not9), free weekends, unlimited text & unlimited data..thats cheaper and pretty good.

    • Tbyrne

      Tell Ivan & Dan the scheme didn’t work. Sending you in here to drum up some business for them was a long shot don’t you think?

    • Anonymous

      Wow!! Sprint is giving me the best coverage of the SLOWEST wireless internet available in America for only $80/mo?  What a great deal!!!  /Sarcasm.

  • Someone

    Most of that article was spot on. Minus the push for Value Plans. The classic plan at a third party retailer, with a lower minute plan, and the much lower price of the phone third parties offer, would make for a lower price over the 24 months. (Phones T-Mobile sells for $200 are often $20-80 at national retailers like Best Buy, Target, or Walmart.) And speaking of walmart, if they wanted a really great value plan, Walmart offers a plan that is $45 for unlimited service, and works with any T-Mobile phone without getting it unlocked – with $35 AALs. Value plans simply are not right for everyone like T-Mobile corporate thinks. There are definitely some people they are right for, but by god i wish they would stop putting them on such a pedestal.
    (P.S. – I’m a tmo RPS rep)

    • Rigonzalez4

      Lol it’s obvious!!

    • guest

      2GB value plan with 500minutes 49.99 for 24 months + galaxy s2 ($529.99) = $1729.25. 2GB classic plan with 500minutes 69.99 for 24moths = $1679.76. Difference in price between the two plans $50.00. When you find a GS2 brand new for $50.00 let me know. Family plan for 2 ppl…. 1k minutes 2gb web unlim sms value plan $79.99 x 24mo + 529.99×2 for phones = $2979.74. Classic rateplan same service $119.99 x 24mo = $2879.76.. Yeah.. feel free to set yourself up on classic

  • cogareli1

    Main problem why customer service is not what is used to be is because is now customer service&sales, you have to meet a certain quota if you want to keep your job for sales and for contract renewals as well in some cases, before this was not the case, it was courtesy concern and knowledge, bet if you call in to remove a feature(web) you will get pushback from the agent, or just telling you is being remove without actually doing it or making a sales offer or just slamming your account, selling is the main part as of today. reconnection fees, billing due date change and sivr are just another reasons.

  • Anonymous

    Nope, I don’t see any value in these Value Plans. I do, however, see value in remaining off-contract and utilizing their Monthly4G plans!!! I don’t foresee myself ever being tied down to another contract unless it was explicitly to leave T-Mobile. The end.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome write up!!!!

  • Caseybea

    Tmobile could add to their attractiveness as a carrier if they didn’t muck with the phones before selling them.   Also, CHARGING for a phone-as-hotspot just pisses me off.  

    I don’t see why so many people knock the value plans, or are confused by them.  I jumped at the chance to switch.  Didn’t buy a phone.   I don’t need one now.    The phone-to-population ratio has hit critical mass.  You can find unlocked phones anywhere online for pretty decent prices so long as you don’t buy the newest/latest phone the day it comes out.    My overall costs are a LOT less now, and I get more everything, for all my family lines.    No other cell carrier comes CLOSE.

  • Chris

    I left tmobile a long time ago but part of me still roots for the underdog and would return to tmobile if their coverage in my home/work/611 customer service/tech support/devices didn’t, frankly…. Suck.

    I really hate to say that because there are a lot of happy customers without those issues but for me, it has been a mess that culmination in a suit in small claims court to rectify the issues. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been lied to or told wrong information from customer support. On hold for hours and i’m not even exaggerating! I envied other carriers for their true top of the line devices that tmobile would only dream about. I was aghast at how they would lie to customers regarding phne problems exceedingly well documented and simply replace the device serial with the same device you had problems with! Vibrant, looking in your direction.

    Greatest thing I ever did? Leave tmobile! I use an unlocked at& t phone on an mvno and i couldn’t be happier.

    I want to come back, but i need a damn good reason first. Also, I am not an iphone person but the money made from the would help them get their proverbial shiz together. Why did the author of this article blame manufacturers when tmobile decides what devices they get? I know all carriers put bloatware on android phones but tmobile could set itself apart by releasing a few without any needless ui stuff. Just sayin’

    • Tbyrne

      If leaving T-Mobile was the “Greatest thing you ever did”, why would you want to come back? I’m aghast at the mere thought!

    • guest

      Why in the world would you call customer care that much? Can’t read a bill or use the internet?

  • Anonymous

    Very well written article, and the author was very articulate in getting their point across.  I agree with everything that was said, but we need to add COVERAGE.  I live in a large city in N.Ca that has HSPA+ 21.  Coverage is awesome, but when I travel outside of the city, my coverage is spotty.  I get important business calls on my cell phone that I cannot afford to miss.  Missing calls could result in lost commissions, which completely negates the purpose of having a lower bill.  I’m willing to pay more monthly for better coverage.  Hopefully they will work this issue out.  Been with Tmobile for 10 years, and I dont want to leave, but I may have to :-(

  • Rwalford79

    The main reason people like me left T-Mobile isn’t the devices or plans, its the customer service that now sucks, and locking people into longer contracts when they change plans. T-Mobile is the only carrier that resets contracts to 2 years if you change rate plans now. If you want to discuss value, Lets discuss why T-Mobile needs to deceive customers this way..

    • TOP-RSA

      Its not deception if your told about it genius. Why do you care about Tmonews anyway if you already left? 

  • Lubbalots

    Value plans has not kept or brought in customers.  How the iPhone help?  Every other carrier have it already!  No one gonna skip their carrier and run tmo for iPhone!  Even if tmo get iPhone, there still poor reception and no lte, poor WP and Android product line to deal with!  Get a grip with the iPhone!  It not gonna help!  It hasn’t put sprint in 1rst or 2nd place. 

    • guest

      well over 50% of new plans are activated on the value plan, its a lot more common than you would think

  • Lubbalots

    Put Nokia Lumia 900 with 12mp camera and HTC Titan 2, Galaxy Nexus on Tmo and they’ll be a 5-10% by end of year.  Get iPhone and remain stagnant or loss.  Why?  Every other carrier has iPhone and Apple wants lots of money!

  • tommytmo

    Isn’t sprint under contract with apple to sell a boatload of iphones?  A number which may not be feasible and ultimately cutting into any gains made by getting the iphone in the first place. Any deal like that could really hurt Tmo.

  • Rmark1880

    What about coverage?

  • cccc

    yea but you have to focus on 5g plans, people are churning on 2g plans because that is not enough…..then do the comparison…..its not about who cost more its about how good is your data speeds on a good phone….

  • Craig Campbell

    I won’t argue that the Value plans aren’t great value – compared to other carriers, yes the prices and value (heh) of them are great.  However, why on Earth should I have to sign a 2-Year contract when I’m not getting a phone.  It’s just insane to me.  I was on Even More Plus 500 at $59.99.  I (and I kick myself every day) gave it up to move to a Classic plan and get a Radar 4G.  It’s a great phone, but in hindsight I wish I’d just bought the phone unsubsidised and kept my EM+.  Even now, if I were to terminate my contract and move to the closest Value plan to what I had on EM+ that would be $64.99 – $5 MORE than I paid on EM+ and be STILL in a contract.  It makes NO sense!!!  That’s not even to mention how utterly complicated the plans are.  T-Mobile needs to do some serious streamlining of their plans, and rethink this ridiculous 2-year contract without a subsidy nonsense.

    • Anonymous

      The Plan is subsidized instead of the Phone.  That’s why there’s a contract on Value.

    • guest

      lol… because there are NO other service providers who want a contract without supplying subsidized equipment, for the life of me i can’t think of any others

  • Anonymous

    All of you people who think these plans are so great really need to look through the window…again and again… Heck, once more. T-Mobile is only marginally less expensive than other providers. These Value Plans are a silly gimmick and paying for a phone over 20 months is just a bad idea. Contracts really need to cease existence. I’d rather buy a phone off-contract and unlocked to take it freely where I please. Never again!

    • TOP-RSA

      And for the folks who cant shell out $600 for a new device? Then I guess they don’t get one..But that’s fine with you right? ‘Cause you got yours. Well I hope you plan on keeping it for a while because when market for high end phones dies, and it will die because MILLIONS of people can’t and certainly will not spend $600 on a new cell phone, Then the manufacturers would all but cease development on new cutting edge devices because that’s the way it works (Supply the Demand) So there you and a small group of assholes are, holding the last of the smartphones, years later, all because you you didn’t want to sign a contract..Like you probably already did with your job, home, car, bank, credit cards, and maybe school loans and wife! Not to mention the tens of thousands of people you would put out of jobs as well. Or YOU SPECIFICALLY can buy your phone out right, unlocked, to use on a pre-paid service. And just to clarify peeping Tom…. marginally less is still less! Millions of Americans are out of work and any savings is appreciated!

      • Anonymous

        But I save more money monthly then them so your point is…?

        • Carolinacaptains

          Not seeing yours, screwball…

  • Jb8von

    GREAT article!  A+

  • DtheArtist

    I for one simply really agree we need better devices. I get tired of us introducing stuff & other carriers take our buzz right from under us. We were the 1st to introduce Android, then Verizon came from under us & capitalized on it & branded it as “Droid.” I’m not sure if we were the 1st to introduce WP7, but we were one of the 1st to introduce it & support it, & now AT&T is getting all the exclusive High end WP7 devices. So besides the value, when you look at other carriers, what do we really have that they don’t. They can almost match what we have in certain aspects. So that leaves the question, why stay with T-Mobile. The plans are cheaper compared to other carriers, but at the same token realistically at least for me they aren’t all that cheap. I know taxes aren’t T-Mobile fault, but i kinda wish they were included in the plans themselves. It kills me to look @ $10 in taxes on the bill every month. Then that installment plan is another kill, then $8 for insurance, the stuff adds up. So it ends up being like a constant reminder of a death penalty every month. I’ll have a new job by the end of the month, & even thou I’m on a family plan $133+ /month for a moderate smartphone user & another person that barely knows how to work the internet on their phone isn’t really where I want my money to be goign.

  • DtheArtist

    I also think somebody brought up a point on another blog. Some kind of initiative for offers to keep loyal customers. They were saying how new customers were being offered cheaper phones & plans, & most cases of loyal customers for years weren’t receiving the same options, I think that should be something too. I believe us loyal customers should be offered a free phone or at least subsidized phone every so often just to say, “Thanks for being a loyal customer for all these years, stay with us.” Now some may not agree, but I’m not asking you too, I just think it should be considered. Especially when a point was being brought that something like for every new subscriber 1 or 2 loyal customers were leaving. I also think their should be a lesser amount to upgrade like a upgrade every year (I wanna say 6 months, but that might be pushing it). But, there used to be 1 year contracts now they’ve done away with those for 2 year contracts, but referring to upgrades I think their should be a subsidized option for a new phone every year (At least for loyal customers), something. I just feel like I get nothing for being a loyal customer & it’s been 8+ years with over 14+ devices on my line in which most I paid out of pocket full retail price. Most offers I didn’t even know like the “Android preferred plan” I had to learn about that from Howardforums. The only offer I received was that loyalty plan about a year or 2 ago, & that was it. Didn’t know there used to be a discount for AAA, T-Mobile never told us that (the people on my account). These are just my opinions. I think they should offer the iPhone even thou I see what it did to Sprint’s network & profits, but just to have “options.” & as much as I love Android, I do think their should be a push for other devices, I’m really love WP7, but their needs to be a High-end one on T-Mobile. PLUS, T-Mobile needs ADVERTISING for their PRODUCTS so people can know their out & for the average joe to have the devices as a household name so they can wanna go to the store or online to purchase them instead of it being just word of mouth, or having only us tech inclined/geeks be the ones to get the devices like we do, we’re only a small percent. It’s sad when the manufacturers have to do all the advertising or the devices on OUR network.

    • Fakeemail

      I’m sick of hearing about “loyal” customers don’t get free stuff. Other than your phone company, who else do you pull that mess on? Do you tell your cable company you want free programming since you have been their customer for 8 years. And if you do, shame on you. Businesses are in business to make a profit, this is not UNICEF. So quit asking for handouts just because you stuck around for some amount of time.

      • 21stNow

        I also think that the term “loyal customer” is misused to an extent.  I think that the more accurate term in most of these situations is “long-term customer”.

        Loyalty is an attitude more than it is an action.  Some people stay with a company due to apathy, inertia or family plans more than anything else.  I have been an AT&T customer for about 8 years and a T-Mobile customer for about 1.5 years.  However, I would consider myself to be more loyal to T-Mobile than to AT&T, because I actually liked what T-Mobile was doing as a cellular service provider when I first signed up.  I also have stayed with T-Mobile without the prison sentence of a contract.  Most of my time with AT&T has been under contract.  That’s not loyalty; that’s upholding a binding agreement that has negative financial consequences for me if I renege.

        All in all, I do agree that this is a business, not a charity.  I wish that people didn’t expect cellular service providers to give away free phones.  I wish that all phone subsidies were done away with.  Computer subsidies from ISPs didn’t last long; I thought that phone subsidies would die soon after, but I was wrong.

      • Vim

        T-Mobile has a real issue with churn, ie. existing customers who leave.  It’s churn rate is currently the highest among all four national carriers. T-Mobile really does need to find a way to address this. Offering existing customers access to the same sales new customers have is one way to address this.  I should point out that cable companies -do- allow existing customers to take advantage of the same sales that are available to new customers even though they don’t advertise it. 

  • Crybabies

    Here is what T-Mobile should do.  1.  Improve network.  2. Tighten Credit requirements.  3.  Get iPhone.

    1.  Obvious reasons to improve network, to retain customers and improve customer satisfaction.  2.  Tired of hearing these whiners on forums and blogs complain about spending almost half of what the other national carriers are charging and still feeling unappreciated.  3.  iPhone will reduce churn and drive traffic to stores.  With tightened credit requirements, wont have to worry about the ghetto/white trash complaining about how they might have to spend a nickel.  

    • HeadUpYourA$$

      People’s bad credit is the reason they complain about paying more? What planet are you from? “I pay more because I can”. People like you are the reason car makers build the same car but put different badges on it. Fools think simply spending more money gets them something special. 
      I don’t want to pay more because it means more money out of my pocket not because I’m “getto/white trash”. I’m not sure if you noticed but everyone is having a hard time right now not just poor people…

      • Tbyrne

        You’re funny!

      • crybabies

        Just based on your reply you are ghetto/white trash. Obviously, 200 million people still have enough money to pay their verizon/att bill. Btw, fools think they should get something for nothing.

        • Keith Stevens

          NOw your gonna tell me My credit report affects my driving right? Your a idiot. If thats the case then why did t mobile cancel all the flex pay accounts? And btw…. A fool is someone who resorts to derogatory words when factual ones can’t back his argument up

    • Keith Stevens

      Your clueless….  And Half? your seriously off your rocker. My bill is barely smaller than when I was with Verizon. the difference is only about 15 bucks and Its network is not even CLOSE to what verizons speed or coverage was. 

  • Thang Nguyen

    Value is all good and all.  However, the guest is clearly not looking at the big picture.  The customers who ARE leaving T-Mobile, their best customers, are either have money and are willing to spend money.  Sure, they are also looking for value, but they are also looking for solutions.  Real estate agents, business owners, and high tech users need access to high speed wireless networks and T-Mobile don’t provide that.  Further, they are leaving T-Mobile because the competition has the latest and great smartphones, including the Ijesus phone.  That’s why I left, after I had been a faithful customers for years and thought I had corporate discount. 

    • Anonymous

      T-Mobile has the best coverage of high speed wireless internet right now.   HSPA+ 42 with an HSPA+ 42 device performs just as well as LTE.  I think it’s more of a case of consumers being misinformed.

      • Keith Stevens

        Misinformed? Misinformed does not cause you to loose bars. Misinformed does not cause you to loose 4G data link. Misinformed does not cause slow data speeds. Thats great that you can get 15.78Mb sitting on your couch. Most people are nowhere close to that. You do realize its a Cellular network right? Just because you have a great experience on your couch don’t mean Most people do. Obviously people are leaving by the droves so your experience is not the normal. T-mo sucks canal water when you go inside…period. They have horrible indoor coverage and in my experience their speed are very erratic. Yes I have got as high as 12Mb but most the time its only 3-5 unless I am inside then its like 2-4. Maybe….  The truth is that they have huge issues with signal and speeds and are way to erratic. 

        • Anonymous

          While 2-4 and 3-5mbps isn’t mind blowing, it’s still a much better experience than anything possible on Verizon or Sprint with their 3G phones.  For example there are TONS of people leaving T-Mobile to be lucky to get 1mbps on their Verizon or Sprint iPhone.  Those guys don’t know speeds like we do but they THINK they are getting a better experience.  T-Mobile does need to work on indoor signal penetration though.  Even though some people know a lot of android phones have the option to do’ wcdma only’ in the wireless settings which lock you on a 4G connection, most consumers don’t know this.  I don’t know if this is  problem T-Mobile could rectify without getting rid of Edge completely.

        • Anonymous

          Also if you talk to a lot of Verizon and At&t customers, their justification for not paying for unlimited data or data plans very susceptible to overages  is that they are on WiFi the majority of the time.  If that’s the case, how could T-Mobile NOT work out for them?  The only time T-Mobile signal is lousy is indoors and T-Mobile is the only national provider where your calls and text messages go through WiFi.  That just tells you a lot of people are on at&t and Verizon are just on there because it’s what their friends recommended to them.  Who really when signing up for Verizon is really making an informed decision AGAINST wifi calling not being practical for them?  That’s why it’s not incorrect to say the majority of consumers are misinformed. 

    • Anonymous

      We don’t offer that? Really. Just got 15.78Mbps on a speed test with 2 bars of signal sitting on my couch. Is that fast enough for you there buddy? 

      • FtKnox TM User

         Really?  I have a 42+ device (Amaze 4G), setting looking at 4G display and 4 bars, just did a speed test and got a blazing 157kbps down and 687kbps up with a ping of 142ms…..can you spell backhaul problems.

    • Vjballa21

      I agree with the other two replies. As far as high speeds T-Mobile does provide that. Latest and greatest smartphones? Aside from the IPhone, what dont we have? We have the best HTC and Samsung makes. Have you seen the Galaxy s2?? If it had an apple logo on the back cover would be the number one phone in the world. but since it doesnt, its number 2.

      • Vim

        T-Mobile has no 720P display phones.  Since November Verizon has had the best HTC (Rezound) and Samsung (Galaxy Nexus) phones.  Of all the carriers, Verizon has done the best job of staying on top of the technology curve.

  • Jaygqitalia

    My idea. 59.99 for value plan 79.99 for regular plan right? Just make it one plan for 69.99 1 year contract with phone upgrades every 16 months. Done =] Eliminate 2 year contracts completely. You stay off contract after a year and you have incentive to stay so you can get your new phone a few months later. Nevermind just confused myself.

    • Vjballa21

      you’re an idiot. your out of contract but you can’t get a new phone til 4 months later. would you stay?

  • Lubbalots

    Where’s my post?

  • Noemail

    When is T-Mobile going to realize nobody cares what your saving if you have no signal… Thats called Churn.

  • Anonymous

    And if gold flew out of my rear I wouldn’t need my job. None of these things matter if we don’t spend Money on the network. Verizon managed to be in the #1 spot for a long time without the IPhone. Because they had a strong network. Our network is good and fast but it is not as solid as it should be. We could have the IPhone and the best customer service and it would not render the customers we needed because people would still churn due to the network not working where it needs to no matter how much money our value plans save them. 

    • Vim

      I agree. Lack of coverage is T-Mobile’s #1 issue.

  • Guest

    I don’t care. Going to AT&T next month. T-Mobile coverage and data speeds here are only 1/10th of AT&T here.

    • Tbyrne

      That’s too bad. Where do u live?

    • Fifthblindmouse

      wow, just the opposite in northern Illinois – too bad.

    • Carolinacaptains

      Not true in SC either. Where In Siberia do you reside?

    • Skp197

      highly doubt this guy even has t-mobile. probably just a troll

    • tmonewsreader

      prepare for the new rates plan the start today, 300mb for $20, 3-5 gb for $50 … it sucks to be you…

  • David

    Don’t mind paying full price for the phone to get the Value plan. It’s still having to sign a 2 year contract on top of that.

    • Giraffe

      When the other three providers have an inferior offer pricewise, it’s safe to say T-Mobile would be a fool not to have their better deal also on a contract.

      • Vim

        It’s not always a better deal.  I for one would pay a hair more on a value plan -and- lose my phone subsidy.  Some of the older pre-classic plans that came with a phone subsidy, quite frankly, were superior, particularly when attached to promotions or a loyalty discount.

  • Phxgoose

    While I like the above article in its scope but i believe the value plans should go, as their classic plans offer almost as much savings after you include in the cost of the phones and are A LOT less confusing on their customers.

    IE If you compare the unlimited value plan vs the unlimited classic plan over the course of 2 years you save $960, but you spend between 800 and 1200 on phones (if you want to use the above iphone). So lets compare the iphone value as he said vs the classic, you would pay $200 for the iphone on the classic plan so you will pay $1360 more than the value plan but only be saving $160, that $160 is in the last 4 months of the contract difference. Now add in another iphone a 3rd line another 600 vs 200, but only saving another $480 over the course of 2 yrs so now your savings is $80. Now this is only at the tmobile store pricing, price your phones elsewhere, costco, walmart etc and you could actually be loosing money over the course of 2 years. Simply put their is not enough “Value” in the value plans to make them worth it to most families. They should just go back to their even more plus plans and do away with the contract.

  • Umalum1990

    In the end it is simple.  If you have a value plan, there shoulf be no 2 year commitment.   The reason they had two year commitments is becasue they needed to make sure they recuped the subsidizing of the phone they gave you for free or at a discount.   Customers who woudl ahve the value plan did so because they sameved money.  As fot the phone being financed for 20 mos, if the customer broke the contract, then they simply have to pay the balance of the phone upon cancelling service.   But noooo, instead they choose to piss us al off by commiting us to 2 years.   For God’s sake, at least lower to 12 month contacts for Value plans.
    I am not so affected because my company pays for my phone; I am fortunate, but if I had to pay out of my own pocket, I would leave T-Mobile for this reason alone.  Aside from this, my service in Miami is generally spot on, and my Galaxy S II  takes full advantage of the 4 G speeds

    • Fool

      okay tmobile had that.. the evenmore plus guess what???… customers were cancelling and only owing partial of the phone and at times wouldnt even pay and let it default to collection. So why do you deserve to pay 20-30 less a month AND get a discounted device? Value is same concept as evenmore plus but on contract if you want a FREE phone go on classic and pay MORE. But no not only do you want a piece of the cake you want the whole thing.

  • Donaga

    I agree to an extent what the editorial is about. Obviously this is written by a T-Mobile employee though and is a bit biased. Now I do agree about the iPhone aspect and value plans on T-Mobile but that is part of the story. T-Mobile has always lagged on the release of premium devices until 2011 which for most parts gave the consumers a good lineup of smartphones. 2012 does not look good and now looks to fall behind again and looks to be a joke compared to at&t’s releases in q1 of titan 2, lumia 900, Sony ion, just to name a few. Customer service is now a joke as opposed to a few years ago when they were probably the top of the crop. Issues with the g2x for one was a complete waste of time and shady if you ask me. Many not remember but T-Mobile was once the only major company to offer one year commitments and that is needed again to help boost sales considering you buy a new phone and 2 months later it is obsolete. The 4g issue is a joke since no company is close to matching the necessary specs to be really “4g”. T-Mobile is the only one of the major 4 to not advancing to lte and will soon be left behind. Overall I think T-Mobile offers great value but lacks several issues. Get the iPhone, drop down the 2 year commitments to 1 again, offer great customer service again which means the customer is always right not the cr rep, offer top notch devices again and not half ass ones such as lumia 710 and g2x and calling them premium, develop lte technology to compete with the other 3 major players and keep doing what you have been doing as most of it has been above average considering I have with the company 11 years you must be doing something right in my opinion

    • Simon Yu

      You have to remember that was only CES, MWC – the CES of the Mobile World – is still to come. Also, At&t is the premier WP carrier, they’d obviously get dibs on the devices, just like T-Mobile had dibs on first variants of phones, i.e. Vibrant, Nexus Devices. And the release of the Titan II on T-Mobile first wouldn’t make any sense, seeing as At&t had it first, you could argue that the HD7s went to At&t and so what? T-Mobile still had the original first (minus the S  I mean)

  • Anonymous

    Decent article for the most part. Some of the points are valid and I agree (as an Android loyalist) that having the iP4 would really help out T-Mo, especially with retaining and attracting new customers. There is no other way of saying it, people flock to the iPhone. 

    What I DO have an issue with is the slightly tricky “Value Plans” that are offered and the authors comparison of plans vs other carriers. Value Plans are great if you already own a device or have the desire and means to pay for a phone outright. If you don’t, then with the monthly fee for the phone – Value Plans are right up there with everyone else (or just slightly less). The biggest complaint that I have with this article is the comparison of the “Unlimited Value Plan” of $59 a month against the other carriers Unlimited Plans. He then goes on to argue that Sprints Any Mobile doesn’t count. I tend to disagree for 2 main reasons. First, the VAST majority of users make the VAST majority of their phone calls to other mobile devices. With Sprint, regardless of the carrier, if the call goes to a mobile device it is unlimited. The 450 minute plan is only used towards land-line phones, businesses and roaming (which is rare for most not living in Montana). Second, Sprint’s Night-and-Weekend time starts at 7pm by default, when just about everybody is still awake. Even Grandma. That allows just about everyone to use their phone, as they see fit, and never come anywhere close to hitting their limits. Oh, and there is a 3rd thing: Sprint has unlimited data. T-Mobile throttles you after your set limit – whatever you choose to pay for. And they throttle you down to 2G speeds. Disagree? This is cut-and-pasted from the fine print at the bottom. “” Go find it yourself if you don’t believe me. 

    By no means am I against T-Mo, I think they have some of the better devices out there, and in some cases great plans. I have their service with a G2 and have no complaints about it. The “4G” works just fine, as do my Sprint and Verizon phones. (Ah the joys of working at BBYM and getting free phones) My only issue is with the skewed POV of the author – be fair in your arguments and compare things that are most-like one another. One could argue that the “limit” on the talk plans is far less important than the “limit” on data speeds for smart-devices.

    As for those of you saying things like “6-month or 1-year upgrades for loyal customers” – get over your self-entitlement. T-Mo is a business just like any other. Business need to make money to continue to stay in business. Its simple economics. If they handed out every perk customers asked for, there would be no wireless companies left in a very short time frame. Long-story-short, get real.

    • Jonnyjunkjr

      Sprint throttles you from day 1 if you dont live in their “4G” coverage, meaning the majority of their customers. Pay $10 extra for a “4G” phone and get 400kb/s down? I do speed tests with customers all the time to show them this. Sprint’s unlimited data is a total sham.

      • Anonymous

        Except you’re wrong. Or you live in BFE. Now – there is no argument against the fact that WiMax never made it as far as it should have. However, for those in good coverage areas (read: most heavily populated areas) speeds of 4-8Mbps are not uncommon. And customers can have as much of it as they want. I’d say that’s a pretty fair deal.

      • Simon Yu

        It’s not that they don’t have unlimited data. Or that they throttle their customers (on Sprint), not that they do. They don’t have WiMax coverage and well.. their default 3G speeds are well, pathetically slow.

    • VK99

      Jake, you have no idea what you’re talking about.  Do some actual research.

      • Anonymous

        Care to elaborate your nonsense? Or would you just rather leave it completely vague so as not to point out your own hypocritical lack of knowledge? I am open for good discussion, but if you are not going to add something of value worth talking about – then don’t waste our time. Cheers.

  • the 90% that got fired

    From an ex retention Rep at t mobile who was fired for doing my job the company has changed and deserves to burn. I was there and helped earn almost every jD power award and was one of the top retention reps in the nation and was fired. Lost NY job my house and my career and I blame entirely the greedy and selfish way management directed the company. I watch as t mobile added chargesto bills hoping customers would pay them without complaint. I watched as good people were loading there jobs of years because they made too much. Nothing t mobile was that made it the company it is today still exsists. Thoes who run the company are the sociopath’s that fired almost 90% of the employees who were active when the at&t merger was announced. F t mobile

    • Tbyrne

      Sounds almost believable. You we’re one of the top retention reps in the nation? You personally helped T-Mobile earn almost every jD power award for the company. If what you say is true, I feel bad for you. However I think there’s more to this story then what’s here.

    • Carolinacaptains

      Bitter much? Were probably let go for Incompetency, lol!

    • Wheresbrent

      Here’s the thing bitter betty, TMobile changed the way they did business cause it wasn’t working. You didn’t get fired for doing your job you got canned because you were unable to change with the business.

  • Anonymous

    “And then when these devices, from all of the various OEMs, fail to
    leave a dent on sales numbers, what do they do? They sell even more of
    their more “iconic” phones to those same carriers.” last time i check htc, samsung, moto, sony, and even the manufacturers who make low end device are raking in money off android phones. there is over 250 million android devices out there, over 700,000 activations per day and android has taken a lot of market share. i feel like tmo did mess up in the beginning, by sitting on their ass while verizon and sprint were getting top notch phones. it not as bad as it use to be, at least tmo is starting get a lil bit of high end android phones. i used to complain about how much tmo line up of android phones suck compare to the other carriers, and i was more than ready to leave after my contract was over so i can get a high end android phone somewhere else, but i read about the htc pyramid(sensation 4g) coming to tmo, which gave me a change of heart.

  • open eyer

    Add that tmobile has become shad. Fist they changed the due date on their favor, if you fail to pay on time, you get suspended and that will cost you $20 per line to be active. Second, they allow third party companies to charge premiun services without the custumer’s permision and through the androd market mostly, and the biggest rip off is the $1.99 per mb that is add it to every customer that doesnt want to use the web. Being all of this charges ‘valid and legal’ tmobile is predating customers, hence, losing their trust and ultimately portig out. I have seen this many times already at my store…

    • Vim

      Do you actually expect T-Mobile to give you free data when you refuse to pay for a data plan?  That sounds entirely unreasonable to me.  If you use their data service, even if it’s just to regularly update a weather app, then you need to pay something for it.

      • OPen eYer

        I’m talking about the people that don’t know how to use a smartphone, the simply fact that the device its always syncing on the background or sends a mms for that purpose or by accident goes into the web…If the customer requests to no have access to the web still the device would go there anyway, that’s annoying  

        • Vim

          If they can’t figure out how to turn data off themselves, then they need to either:

          A) Have tech support walk them through turning it off.
          B) Go to their T-Mobile store and ask them to turn it off for them.

          Smartphones are designed to use data connections.  By default they’re turned on.  Changing the default to off would create more problems than it would solve. 

        • tommy

          These are people best served by TMO or sprint because their data is not charged extra. ATT and VZ charge for that. They can have the minimal data plan or none at all.  The comment makes any sense? not. just turn off cell phone data whew.

    • CDogg

      Third party charges are requested thru the handset and you get at least 2 messages stating your gonna get charges.  Don drink the customer kool-aide.  

  • Jeff Hunter

    T-Mobile has requested the iPhone from Apple.  They have not as of yet produced a handset that will work on the T-Mobile network.  (Employee)

  • Anonymous

    That was painful to read. I commend the employee for having hope, but this is just a brutal emphasis on how poorly managed t-mobile USA is. It’s really sad to see pride-fille employees working under pitiful leadership.

    • Tbyrne

      Yeah, the employees at AT&T are so much happier working for Randall. Right Gouv?

      • Anonymous

        Most likely… The front line employees are most miserable regardless of what company because they deal with the most direct crap from the customers. I think AT&T employees may be happier because they are working for a big company that is more structured with a larger budget for everything most likely. I don’t know any tmobile employees personal except for a few retail store managers and I don’t hear good things. I do know a few RF engineers for at&t and all I hear is great things and good pay. Yes, 2 very different job types in two very different fronts

        • rvg911

          I worked for 3 of the largest retail comm companies on the same 3 companies I have been honored as a RSA of the year and the company who have treated me better is T-Mobile by the way I just found my self as a winner’s circle winner in all South Texas Region there’s definitely more money as a pay structure on the RSA world in other companies but I feel very good with my new promotion in this company thanks T-Mo.

        • Anonymous

          Comgrats, I’m sure winners circle is a great achievement (don’t know what it is but it sounds like a great achievement). I’m sure there are people in the front line that are great and live what they do but it’s very safe to assume that it’s not the general consensus. Many people go back to school completely stimulated by retail misery or customer service hell. It’s a tough gig but someone has to. Be up for it.

  • tommy

    This was so painful to read I could not read it. TMO needs to turn into an internet company. I just bought a wifi android tablet and cannot wait to get rid of my cell data altogether.  I have 4 phones on a family plan.

  • Kevin

    Thanks for sharing, and try to hang in there; hopefully, things will change. I used to be with T-Mobile years ago and was very happy with them. I moved to AT&T when my employer started subsidizing my phone plan, but after being laid off and having to fork over $100+/month for any smart phone, it became too much, so I went back to T-Mobile. I’m not on a Monthly4G plan and I’ve been pretty happy. Reception is good, customer service has been very good, and the price really can’t be beat (unless one chooses to go with one of those “ghetto” prepaid carriers and use some bad excuse for a smart phone).

    I do think T-Mo is in a decent position to innovate around the other big carriers, though, and unless it does something radical to change the mobile phone landscape, it could find itself in trouble, trying to compete as a “me too.” Just look at what upstart Republic Wireless has done. They’re having a tough time of it and having to iron out a lot of wrinkles, but they’re slowly-but-surely making progress. If a company with somewhat deeper pockets (read: T-Mobile) were to invest in the development of a similar WiFi calling-based service, it might have more luck and see things come to fruition more quickly and efficiently.

  • tommy

    OK what is the problem with the value plan’s contract? you don’t like having to save money for 2 years? I don’t get it. The explanation is so complicated and contorted. Like people are used to shoveling out an extra $20 or whatever a month to Vz or ATT. or Sprint.  TMO should try to simplify all this.

    • 21stNow

      The problem is that one of the perceived benefits to buying a phone outright is to not be stuck in a contract.  So with the Value Plan, I lose the benefit of a discounted phone and I lose the benefit of not having a contract.  The only thing left is the cheaper service.  I could go to an MVNO such as Simple Mobile or Red Pocket for that, and still have the benefit of no contract.

  • Richie

    The plans on tmobile are the best but the only thing we need is Phones! give us the Galaxy Nexus, give us the Iphone, give us the Titian, give us more high end phones and i guarantee the subscriber base will drastically increase. Ensuring that you get these phones with your Superior plans there is no stopping tmobile. I am ecstatic that the merger didnt go through cause if it did my bill will increase and  in these times thats the last thing you want to happen. Tmobile give us more high end phones from windows to android and bring us the iphone. i know lots of people that have an iphone on tmobile that wish tmobile only offered the phone so they wouldnt have to pay full price on the phone.  

  • anty fed

    TMO will gain more subscribers and retain the ones they have with an iPhone simply due to the superior rate plans. The one caveat is coverage. TMO has “spotty” indoor coverage but is compensated with WiFi/UMA. TMO has to find a way to make the majority of their devices UMA capable in order to enhance coverage. I know they have those “cel-fi” units but come on. There’s a wireless router just about everywhere you go so WiFi/UMA is the way to go. I use BB so I get everything I want with TMO and it’s been that way for about 10 years. I was annoyed that they agreed to sell to AT&T and obviously I’m happy that the deal is dead. I just hope TMO stays on top of things and sticks to the basics: Superior pricing plans, Customer service, better coverage and better devices. No small order for what they charge but for what you get today, one cannot complain.

  • Don’t Really Care

    So, its the manufacturers fault that Tmo gets the short end of the stick on flagship and premier handsets?  Funny, I always thought it was supposed to be Tmobile that needed to go to the OEMs and make these deals to bring the phones to the carrier.  So you’re telling me that, if Samsung has a new, top of the line handset, Samsung is the one to go to At&t and ask for an exclusivity deal?  Maybe I don’t really know, but it sounds backwards to me and unlikely.  The OEMs DO have great phones, its Tmobile that isn’t trying hard enough and instead relies on this cruddy ‘first timers’ and ‘teen’ segment.  You can see it clear as day from the original Sidekicks on down to the myTouch branding to the Nokia 710.  No, I’m sorry, I completely blame Tmobile for that.

    Which is the point behind the iPhone.  The writer is correct in that iPhone is not suddenly going to boost the company out of #4 slot.  That’s a dumb assumption that’s already been dis-proven by both Verizon and Sprint.  But the bigger point is… why NOT have the iPhone?  3 out of 4 carriers have this thing, what is preventing Tmobile from selling it?  Before you could lose the customer to 1 carrier… if the customer wants an iPhone, they now have THREE competitors to choose from.  I don’t want an iPhone, I don’t think its going to propel Tmo into the #1 carrier in the universe, but even I can see how important it is for them to have it.  At this point, its actually rather sad that they don’t.

    Tmobile is the carrier that brought the world the first Android phone… then subsequently squandered that role by going back to old habits and stocking up on the cruddy mid-range phones while Verizon and Motorola slam dunked w/ the Droid.  Then Sprint shot out the EVO.  Tmobile… myTouch.  Wow.

    You say you only ‘need’ the iphone to prevent churn… but churn = lost customers.  Lost customers + No New Customers = No light at the end of the tunnel.

    I do want a Nokia 900… so I looked up At&t and their ‘high cost’ plans and after some calculating, figured I’d end up spending $20 more a month on At&t.  I wont scoff at that, that actually adds up.  But I also have no cancellation fees.  No contract.  And what you’re missing is that customers are WILLING to pay those fees… I’m willing to pay an extra $20 a month, to have the phone that I want.

    I used to be a big proponent of ‘choose the right carrier first, then pick the best phone they got’, but lately my outlook has changed.  What the lack of iPhone indicates to me is that Tmobile has no interest in trying to establish better handsets for their customers.  In the end, they are really proving that you ‘get what you pay for’.  Heck, I’ve lasted this long off contract simply for the fact that Tmobile has offered me NOTHING worthy to sign my name to.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t forget, a lot of people can justify the extra $20/month because the other carriers have stronger networks. T Mo is fine in the city, but stinks otherwise.

  • Deucedownatown

    Value plans will leave a customer having to pay a large balance if they choose to leave the carrier during that 2 year period.  It will most likely cost them much more than it would have if they were only paying an ETF, since instead of an ETF they would be paying the remaining balance of the cost of the phone.

  • tmobileempl02

    great article! i agree 100% with all the highlights and as a tmobile employee Ive been through the same  scenarios with customers when they think the  value plans are outrageous. Tmobile has the best value, great products, and a great network. People need to start valueing this before its gone.

  • mriede

    sprint is actually 79.99 for an iphone and unlimited data…i work for them lol