T-Mobile Apologizes For Android Notification Bar Advertisements, Removes Them

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A T-Mobile spokesperson just dropped the following statement into my inbox, advising customers they have discovered the cause of the Android notification bar advertisements and removed them. T-Mobile apologizes for the inconvenience and hopes we can all move on and have a nice weekend. Our story is just about 28 hours old, so we have to give the folks at Magenta some credit for a swift reaction to their customer concerns.

During a recent software update, a message to promote T-Mobile’s free VIP Zone was mistakenly sent to certain customers and appeared on the notification bar for some Android devices. After T-Mobile was made aware of this mistake, the company stopped the notifications. T-Mobile apologizes for the inconvenience this may have caused customers.

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  • Tom

    Still waiting for Tmonews to apologize for having advertisements on the site.  Hypocrite

    • Z-Dawgg

      When you start paying David a monthly fee, I’m sure he’ll happily remove the advertising.

      • Jrlane74

        Yeah !!!!!

    • UMA_Fan

      No, he should totally pay for running this site himself.  How dare they get compensated for something we enjoy every day for free.

      • http://tmonews.com David

        Honestly, I’m amazed at the attitude people have toward this and advertisements on the website.

        • Robomelon

          David does an amazing job here and more then deserves to run the ads, we pay nothing and he works his chipmunking ass off

        • Kevin

          David, I for one really appreciate all the hard work you put into this website!

          I read it everyday for my dosage of t-mobile news. I especially like the fact that you post stuff that other sites don’t.

          Keep up the awesome work!

        • Wex

          The ads I see on the mobile version can easily be hidden if you just press hide on the left hand side of the ad.

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Guess you don’t understand the difference, keep waiting for the apology. T-Mobile pushed an advertisement to your phone. You CAME HERE and sought out the information and advertisements are needed to keep this website going. Apologize to yourself for not having the foresight to consider that.

      • http://twitter.com/squiggleslash s slash

        In all seriousness, if you ever offer something that allows subscribers to pay a dollar a month, and avoid the ads, I’d sign up.

        Very grateful for TMonews and I’d love to support the site directly.

        • http://tmonews.com David

          Unfortunately, it would take more than one dollar per subscriber. This stuff isn’t cheap!

        • http://twitter.com/squiggleslash s slash

          I’m kinda surprised you’re getting more than a dollar per subscriber from ads! I think I need to ditch Adsense on my blog…

        • itched

          There are ads on the site? I don’t use an ad blocker, I just don’t even see ads anymore.

        • DrScope

          Go ahead and install flash! No wait…

    • Smalltown76

       Tom: uummm is Tmonews free? to view content? yes. so they have ads to be supported. I pay T-mobile 300$ for a phone, then 200$ a month and they don’t even offer me data service in my town, yet they can get an ad to my notification bar.  Not hypocrite.  Two different businesses with different business models.  If you speak like that and do not make it clear you are joking, you look like a Dbag.

    • Deadeye37

      I’m sure if David won the Mega Millions lottery outright, he would pay all the expenses for running this website out of his own pocket since it would be a great hobby.  When you have over $500 million dollars, you need a good hobby to keep you busy.

      I’m cheering for you, David!

      If by some small chance that David doesn’t win, he needs to pay for hosting, publishing, help, along with having to support himself and his wife.  None of that is cheap for a quality blog.  That’s why virtually all high quality blogs have advertisements.

      I really wish people would stop complaining about the ads on this site.  Yes, getting that full screen advertisement when visiting this site from a mobile browser is annoying, but quickly tapping that x on the top right makes the ad go away and then you’re in T-mobile news bliss!

    • Anonymous

      Adblock – who doesn’t use it?

    • maruichan

      Trollololol….

    • WirelessRefugee

      Sorry Tom, that does not even make sense. You strike me as the type who shops and demands everything at dealer’s cost or for free. 

      I think I have seen you post elsewhere on the Net, using your full name. “Tom Skinflint” as I recall.

  • Zeonreborn777

    Great news!

  • StrongArm

    Wow, people love to talk crap about TMO, but that is amazing responsiveness to customer needs. Kudos to everyone there – appreciate that you guys listen to your customers.

  • UMA_Fan

    They can advertise on my notification bar all they want if they announce we are getting a HTC One X variant as the next G-series phone.

  • Yourmomma

    Yea, right. They got so many complaints, they just decided to drop the ads. As usual, they are again back pedaling for another bonehead decision.

    • StrongArm

      Ungrateful hating jack of arse. Give them credit. It’s not a bad idea. But people have spoken and they don’t want those offers – you realize its TMO’s reward program, right dummy?

      • http://twitter.com/squiggleslash s slash

         Not a bad idea? It’s a terrible idea. What next? Commercials during phone calls?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CYQUMMC7Z4UBLSHQAJGNJBKVPM JamesS

          Actually, Google is already working on that I do believe.

      • WirelessRefugee

         ”Ungrateful?” What have paying customers got to be grateful for? That T-Mobile INTENTIONALLY placed ads on to paying customers’ phones, that sparked outrage and/or complaints, so T-Mobile stopped doing it?

        Today I visited my disabled sister who can only now use a stylus on her T-Mobile SGS Vibrant phone. While installing some apps to help her use the phone, she complained “You know, sometimes I press the page (she meant home screen) or check my messages I get an ad from T-Mobile, did I install a program that caused that?”

        So those ads, I’m thinking those were really bad. They made my sister’s (remaining) life much more difficult.

        That’s really what it comes down to, in my opinion. I can understand suffering ads if we are using stuff for free, such as G-Mail, Google Maps, or a free NAV app. But a notification bar, that’s part of the service we pay a lot of money for, so the “space” should be ad free.

        How would you feel, for example, if your car’s NAV screen had ads popping up on the screen every time the car was started. People would be livid. In contrast, people accept that if one listens to the car radio there’s going to be ads, because the AM/FM content is free.

      • Kheroic

        To me, deceit is the big issue here. When we called and complain they bluntly acted like they didn’t know where it was coming from. Having you trouble shoot for nothing. This is a big problem.

    • Guest

      To me, deceit is the big issue here. When we called and complain they bluntly acted like they didn’t know where it was coming from. Having you trouble shoot for nothing. This is a big problem.

  • mason175

    I love when the people speak and the man listens…

  • joseph

    Throwing advertisements on phones? They going to start hiring sign wavers now? Tmobile is clearly out of touch with what’s pushing customers to buy, were not stupid. Another stupid idea buy the execs up top, now they back peddling because they are desperate. Like the while offers push they are doing in care now days. He was telling me I was a prime candidate for a 5 GB promo plan that could save me money. I had averaged 110 Mb of data on my phone for the past 3 months but I was a prime customer for savings that would cost me $15 more a month. Not mad the person on the phone for doing his job but how can these execs want me to take any offers they make serious? You think im going to listen to the kid in the store sell me a hotspot after that? No. Really wish tmob would sell them selves to Americans that know how to run a business.

    • ianken

      Lol. People pissed at ads on phones running an operating system built by a company that does nothing but sell ads. Nice.

      OUTRAGE!

      • Frigadroid

        LOL Fyi you can opt out with google if you adjust your settings. This is about t-mobile spam being forced to your notification bar. It would help if you read the thread & knew what you’re talking about before you make such absolutely absurd comments. LOL

    • Frigadroid

      To bad we can’t call a loss of confidence vote and clean house.

  • joseph

    Americans>Germans at selling, marketing

  • http://twitter.com/cielomoreno127 Solo lo traga

    CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Asdf

    When I saw the notification on my G2 I was pissed! Thought it was going to be standard practice, but thank God for the influence of the collective voice!

  • TMoFan

    I honestly don’t understand the outrage over this. This reminds me of the South Park episode with the quintuplets where Janet Reno says Americans have it so good that they get bored easily and start protesting.

    But I will say that I don’t think it was a mistake. I’ve gotten a notification bar ad about the basketball bracket and that was before I updated. T-Mobile should just be honest and say that they were trying something different and didn’t realize the negative reaction it would get. Either way at least they responded and fixed the issue.

    • Kheroic

      To me, deceit is the big issue here. When we called and complain they bluntly acted like they didn’t know where it was coming from. Having you trouble shoot for nothing. This is a big problem.

  • Tomnewtn

    Nice. Some how I’m not surprised that TMO was so responsive to their customers. 

  • RomelPeters

    Apologize about not rolling out ICS!!!

    • TMOTECH

      It’s not T-Mobile. It is the manufactures.

      • Cashman

        It’s both of them. Google releases it, then passes it on to the manufacturers who then pass it on to T-Mobile to make their “adjustments”. You can never truely blame 1 person

        • Nick

          Very true.  and it’s not as if Tmobile is pressing the manufacturers for updates.

    • DonnieB

      Could you be more ignorant?  There is an incredible amount of bureaucracy, complexity and testing goes into rolling out an update.  Do some research – every OEM puts their spin on the user interface – this forces carriers to work for months to make it align so you don’t sit around complaining about that too.  Do you think they enjoy holding back amazing updates that make their devices run faster, last longer and provide a better experience?
        Find something more positive to do with your time!

  • Frigadroid

    That was a bone head stupid idea to start with. I can’t believe people (obviously biased t mobile employees & fans) want to give them a pat on the back and credit for reversing their ignorant decision to bombard us with spam.
    I bet now they will decide to increase the ignorant texts that let you know when your bill is coming due & check clears, to a full blown marketing blitz.
    The challenger plan is working real well, they have kicked it up to full speed self destruct mode! The ass clown executives over at At&fee, Verizon and Sprint must be licking their chops like a hungry dog eyeballing a ham bone.

    • Frigadroid

      Oh I see now I have a email from them first time ever in over 13 years. The timing seems quite suspect I must add since I always opt out. I guess the same person who had the brilliant idea to change without permission phones that previously opted out to use data came up with this plan too.
      Email at least isn’t so bad as slamming data & spamming the notification bar as long as they don’t get obnoxious like sams club or my buddy barry his wife and jackass friends hitting me up for $3 :-( they like to wake you up at 4 or 5 in the morning.

  • TMOSince2003

    Good.

    Shocking that we even had to have this problem. Still waiting for evidence that the old TMO will ever return.

    Stupid idea, and no prep for the support staff. If they had prepped, it would never have launched. Because it was stupid. At least it seems to be nipped in the bud.

    No one has mentioned thay My Account ALREADY HAS AN AD SPACE. It’s an annoying following pop up for ring tunes or some dumb addon for children (who are not likely to be running the app). It’s in the screen shot – and IT NEVER CHANGES. Use the ad space you already have!

  • Kheroic

    Sad part about this is when we was calling and complaining, they act like they didn’t even know what we was talking about. They even persuaded to put a block which didn’t work. I kept asking them how somebody have access to their network to generate advertisement from them. In other words, this is sad. They lead us stray. they are really pushing me.

    • Jack

      That’s because the people you were talking to did not know about it. Honestly. Not all customers received it. I didn’t. But…once the feedback was provided & received, then the people who control that stuff let the rest of the company know, made the fix, and released the statement. No on knew. 

  • TMOSince2003

    Who wants to bet that this is not the last we’ll hear on the subject?

    This reads more like an experimental program that got out of the lab early than a poorly planned launch.

    “Mistake” and “stopped” are borderline weasel words.

    Translation, ‘Yes, it was a mistake to send the notification bar air push spam to customers this week. The mistake was sending it to customers not test staff. We are planning to do that at a later date. We have stopped, for now. But it’s not canceled – we’ll be back.’

    • StrongArm

      Anyone that uses the word “weasel” (myself excluded) is a “weasel”. Get a grip, big F’ng deal. You guys swear the notification drawer is sacred, maybe it’s important, but the negative overreaction to TMO’s corrective steps is a joke. Get the F over it! Damn, I swear some of you guys are negative, sad little people.

      Again, this is a rewards program, if I’m not mistaken. In other words TMO is giving us, their customers (including their whinny arse pessimists) an opportunity to win stuff. Is that so bad?

      David any chance you can explain exactly what this rewards zone stuff. Would be nice if someone from TMO from that program can explain what that is. I’ve wondered bc sometimes I do get a random text. I use to think it was spam, but now that I know it’s really from TMO maybe there is something there. Any coverage on the program would be helpful. Maybe it’s been covered before?

      • TMOSince2003

        Only horses whinny.

        It’s not the message (vip zone, wow I never heard of that, oh, wait it’s on every bill) it’s the method (Notification bar). And it’s unwelcome. If I could send you my spam, I would be happy to do so, as you seem to like it and I don’t.

  • Dht

    I am a Customer service Employee And I can tell everyone with 100 percent certainty that this was a mistake. All major changes for marketing or policy changes are always in our community in a breaking news section so we are prepared for customer questions. T-mobile really is working to get back to our roots of great customer service and I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with tmobile jim ailing who heads our customer service and making the changes to our customer service is his main focus.

    • Golnesa

      You Lucky Bastard, you didnt get fired.

    • bfranklindev

      BS – I spoke to a rep and he verified T-Mobile will continue sending marketing push notifications via My Account unless you call and request them to stop.

      • StrongArm

        Wow, you called for that? Whinny lil B… Dude get over it. Give it some time. In any case, you opted out, so please put a cork in it.

  • John

    BS. I got one telling me to upgrade to an Android phone at 10:00 am EST on 3/31

    • TMOSince2003

      I am guessing that you received a marketing text (SMS), perhaps?

      David’s post and this thread are about people with Android phones getting some special extra non -SMS marketing.

      You usually can go into your profile on the website and turn those marketing SMS texts off. Support chat is also a good way to get help as well, I recommend it. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

      • bfranklindev

        Not an SMS, this was on my Samsung Vibrant (android 2.2 device) through the My account application.  This was NOT a text message.  This was via push notifications with the my account app.

        I called T-Mobile and spoke to a rep.  The rep said THEY WILL be using the my account app to send notifications to users, but you have to call them to opt out.  This was not just the VIP Zone push notification they sent.  They “wanted to let me know” I could upgrade my phone and spammed me through a push message.

        This is another reason Apple won’t let them carry iOS devices – you can’t use push notifications for marketing.

        • guest

          WAHHHH a little box comes up and bugs you for two seconds, remember that little button at the bottum that looks like a backwards arrow or even the home button. Fixes everything bammm

  • http://profiles.google.com/mrstrat Randall Ainsworth

    Too bad they can’t be that quick to respond to the numerous problems with the crappiest cell phone ever made – the G2X.

  • Dbarker1965

    Wow some people just live to complain and whine about anything and everything

    • Realcool2000

      Totally agree.

  • Dominic R

    This is absolutely not new (at least to US carriers). When I had my Evo 3D with Sprint, it had the “Sprint Zone” app which allowed you to check on your device, account info. etc. exactly like T-Mobile’s here. Every now and then you would get notifications in the Notification bar about it from Sprint.

    I just shut the notifications off, but I really don’t see why this is a big deal. Just uninstall the app (My Account/My Device) and problem gone.

    Funny thing is..I got the same “Sprint VIP Zone” crap with Sprint.

  • Notsogood

    And they wonder why they continue to lose customers…

  • jonathan3579

    Mistake advertising their app? Lol. Suuuuure.

  • LTEstyles

    Got the advertisement on my SGS2 > confused > Then pissed > cleared it > ignored it > life goes on.

  • username_in_use

    i normally dont get anything like that since i switched from tmobile to verizon.

  • UnknownTmoGhost

    I never got these but maybe because im on a custom rom I built myself and do not run the stock software with all the T-Mobile bloat.

    Messed up that they did this tho, doubtful it was a mistake.

  • HowOldAreWe?

    It was just an ad y r people crying? Damn i don’t see people crying over the free apps that have ads all up n them…!

    • Concerned

      Is your t-mobile service free? (The correct answer is “no”)

  • Gouv

    I personally thought it was a bright way of promoting their services, but oh well.  I’m sure they’ll come up with something else that isn’t “accidental”.

  • FTLOG

    I’m a T-mobile customer. I researched prices on other carriers (and would leave-do to horrible customer service and poor network quality in my area) but T-mobile is so much cheeper than the better services out there-so its a soley financial decision to stay with T-mobile.

    But it is interesting that people complain about them as if they are charging Verizon prices. I mean, you have to expect lower quality and lower quality service when the price is so much cheaper.

    Going down from t-mobile in price, to say metro or simple mobile, I’m sure everyone would expect less coverage and cheaper handsets. T-mobile does a very good job of maintaining their network, offering high speed and good coverage, and providing cell phone options that (WHile incredibly overpriced sometimes) are quite competitive in today’s market.

    I think I’m just honest in seeing T-mobile as a class beneath Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.

    And considering their recent layoffs and cutbacks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the company move closer to the simple and metros out there over the next year. I had believed that if the Buy out failed (AT&T), that T-mobile would become a pre-paid comapny- that hasn’t happened Yet, but let’s see how the year goes.

    • StrongArm

      Nah, I think you’re over simplifying. Higher prices in wireless telecom doesn’t guarantee better customer service. I’ve had 3 of the 4 you mentioned, except Verizon. Given my experience Sprint was the worst, and AT&T was only slightly better. T-mobile has been good, although not perfect. I’ve learned in dealing with reps at these companies, if one cannot help, then you politely hang up and try again with a different rep. Worse case scenario you talk to a supervisor. I don’t always get what I want but at the least I’m satisfied with the end result. Anyway, about only real disadvantage is signal / in building penetration, correct me if I’m wrong but that had something to do with the frequency/ spectrum. In building coverage is notably weaker. That’s the only meaningful downside of having T-Mobile. Given TMO has the Tech to do wifi calling, it’s not so much of an issue for some people. With that said, more reasonable prices when compared to the other 3 wireless co.s and equal if not better customer service is not so bad a trade off.
      Yes, this is a bit off topic, but given the pros/ cons people need to relax and stop complaining about dumb shite like, “oh TMO is making me rewards offers by notification bar. How dare they offer me free stuff!” that is plain dumb silliness to complain about.

      • FTLOG

        Really depends where you live. In cities -like Metro PCS- T-mobile has a stroong signal in many areas, but I live in brooklyn NY, and many times see dropped signals- yes in large buildings (especially my apt which is a huge problem), but also when I have to travel upstate, and to long island. I also travel extensively each year accross the US, and in many -typically rural- areas I lose service (have had several phones so I know it is the service). People in those areas always show their AT&T and VZ phones working well. Yes wifi calling- but again, when availible, not all wifi is free, and when a lot of peopel are on, say at a convention, it can be difficult to use.

        I am really not attcking T-mobile here, but  I think a lot of peopel refer to it as if it is the highest level of wireless, and it simply is not. There is a reason why other carriers can charge more, and get more customers. One major reason is Coverage, more reliable network. Another is they invest in the latest and greatest devices.

        My only point is that it makes no sense for peopel to argue that T-mobile should have better service, or customer service, or devices, or better sales, when they are a smaller, and cheaper carrier than the biggest out there. Maybe they will change that someday, maybe they will far lower…no one knows.

        • Tracersmichelle

          Verizon and At&t are bigger companies with a LOT more cash to spend on EVERYTHING, including advertising.  That’s the main reason they are 1 and 2.  They were both also originally in the land line business, so they have a leg up

      • tommy

         Thanks for being intelligent and reasonable (I am not being satirical) You are right about building penetration, which I assume is 1 reason they are trying to go LTE, along with compatibility with phone radios.  they also have connection time problem. after connection speeds are great of course.
          It’s also right that the prices make up for some advertising.
          However it seems TMO might be getting desperate and I hope they can soldier on until they get profitable.  I’m pissed that I missed the sales with the GS2 and as a value plan customer can’t get any rebates on high end phones now, and also that TMO doesn’t have the Samsung Galaxy Note yet, but ATT does.

        • guest

          You still can get rebates as a value customer, when T-Mobile has its phone sale deals, just like the one that just passed with exhibit 2 both classic and value customers could receive rebates.

        • tommy

          Maybe someday again for GS2. I missed them and now I regret it, now that I need it! might have to pay full price if this goes on too long.

    • UMA_Fan

      Get out of here, in what ways are at&t and sprint better than T-Mobile?

      There’s so much that T-Mobile does better than them.  T-Mobile even does better from a data speed perspective than Verizon if you’re not in an LTE area.

      • FTLOG

        Right. Try traveling cross country and then tell me how great T-mobile is. T-mobile, Like Metro pcs and others is great in many metro areas, but when you leave those areas the network problems show up quick. And forget about “4G” data speeds while traveling.
        I used to work for them, and we always had customers cancelling because there was no network connection in so many areas.

        When it comes to devices…C’mon. AT&T always gets the cream of the crop, and I’m not Just talking about iPhones..Better windows phones etc.

        Sorry, but Big red has the coverage, At&T is close, T-mobile has fallen behind. Maybe they will fix themselves, and maybe RIM will fix themselves..But at the moment, the only people I know who use Tmobile, say its is due to the service price, not the actual service.

        • TMOSince2003

          Just sayin’ the coverage maps exaggerate a bit. Travel I-10 from Jacksonville west, and it says 4G all the way. Just ain’t so. Hard to hang onto EDGE in some spots and it’s GRPS with one bar in the National Forest. Been riding this road a lot lately and I am getting to know when it’s better to keep going than try to email from the rest stop.

  • ecdy

    Now how about getting rid of the annoying ribbon on YOUR OWN app that says T-Mobile unlimited 49.99? It will soon drive me away from your site forever

    • GTFOH

      Good riddance to you, you clueless nugget.

  • http://profiles.google.com/chicagoandy Andrew Metcalfe

    Credit?!?  I was escalating through various customer service hellholes for a week before anyone would even acknoledge.  Even after 5 days of my complaints, they were still advising me to “reply with STOP to any text message”.   It was painfully clear they were not taking it seriously, and I never received a personal reply to my problems.   I’m glad it’s going away, but I’m dumping TMO at the end of the month.

  • robonik

    Idiot whiners. 

    I had a “marketing message” from Tmo pop up on my phone on 3/13/12.  I saw a small hot pink “T” in a triangle on my Vibrant’s notification bar.  I opened the notification and it was an offer: “As a loyal Tmobile subscriber would you like a new Samsung Galaxy S2?”   Of course I clicked “yes” and then called Tmo to verify.  Not only did the rep confirm the validity of the offer she upgraded the shipping to express at not cost.  

    I received the new SGS2 a few days later and never looked back – the phone is outstanding and the price was right – FREE. The SGS2 is everything I wanted the Vibrant to be and beyond.

    Good going idiots – keep complaining.