T-Mobile Shifts Marketing Message To Focus On 4G Network

Yesterday, March 14th marked a shift in T-Mobile’s marketing message away from specific Value Plans and toward its 4G network. Their $49.99 per line message will remain as consumers are responding favorably, but T-Mobile will emphasize more choices at that price as well.

They list a few benefits of their new messaging:

  • Allows for better focus on the network and providing value through devices rather than specific rate plans
  • Emphasis on providing a great value on 4G data plans powered by America’s Largest 4G Network
  • Retains the $49.99 price point and delivers a new “Plans with Unlimited Data starting from $49.99″ marketing message
  • Customers can avoid subsidy discounts and receive the full value of unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data for $49.99 per line
  • Allows T-Mobile to advertise the $49.99 price as a starting point and increase purchase options for consumers
  • Customers can “start” at $49.99 and then customize their plan and device experience to their liking and pay off that experience over 20 months, instead of a one-time bill shock

It’s an interesting but smaller shift than one might expect given T-Mobile’s reinvigorated “challenger strategy.” I would have preferred to see T-Mobile combine their network and price message developing a new strategy. Perhaps we’ll see something new yet.

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  • InvisibleHand

    Come on T-Mobile, it’s not that hard. Raise prices $15 and eliminate value plans. Allow customers to sign up with a contract and phone subsidy, or without a contract and without a phone subsidy. Why must you overcomplicate everything?

    • Ben McRill

      I think of it as a stepping stone to get customers in the US used to the idea. The two year contract is in place so that customers can pay off an expensive device(s) over time instead of up front. A family of 5 looking for S2′s would be about $3,250 with tax. So by letting people pay it over time they get a better deal and don’t have to break the bank. Sooner or later the shift to full price phones will come to the US but it takes time to make the consumer comfortable. 

      • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

        But everyone in a family of five don’t need an S2…

        That’s like saying a Ferrari needs to be subsidized so everyone in a family of 5 can have one.

        • InvisibleHand

          Are you saying that the Galaxy SII is the Ferrari of smart phones? Maybe hardware wise but you don’t see Ferraris driving around on square wheels and covered with pretty steel plates to “enhance the driving experience”. If it is the Ferrari of phones, then I will ask this: How many Ferrari owners financed their car? 

          P.S. I dislike Android skins.

        • in2android

          I would hardly compare a premier sports car to a prenier smartphone. I would also say that ppl would appreciate their devices alot more, I would personally not have an issue buying $600 devices for all four of my lines, so long as my bill was considerably cheaper. If there my  childeren on my plan, they wouldnt have $600 phones by a long shot!

        • Eanfoso

          Well that’s what tmobile does mate, if you have your own phone you can enroll in the value plan, which is retarded cheap lol

      • InvisibleHand

        I think people should have options and should be able to save money. My whole point is that there shouldn’t be a contract if you’re not getting a device. If the family of 5 wants to get S2′s, they can still do it with or without a contract. That way they price of the device is the only thing that changes. Letting customers float the cost of a device over 20 months is similarly risky to subsidizing it and having them sign a contract. While innovative, I don’t think it is a good way to get the right customers. 

        • Realcool2000

          Hahaha that’s why you dont run a company fool, because what you think a company should be doing is as dumb as your service provider listening to your advice.

        • InvisibleHand

          That’s why T-Mobile has the cheapest plans and the fewest customers, right?

        • Realcool2000

          I know that tmobile is one of the 4 largest cell phone service providers is the U.S. and they have the largest 4g network, when ur company is that big the word ” fewest ” isnt in the cards but ” player ” is, and all the advice you have for them don’t mean a thing, suka.

          So keep foolin yerself and have a great day :).

        • InvisibleHand

          The word ‘fewest’ describes the relationship between T-Mobile and the remainder of the 4 largest providers in the U.S. I’m not really sure which part you don’t understand. The word ‘player’ is meaningless, as is the claim that T-Mobile has America’s larges 4g network. Anyone can claim anything as long as they make the correct disclaimers in the fine print. None of it matters anyway since T-Mobile doesn’t listen to customers. If they did they would see that people have no problem paying more for service as long as they can buy the phone that they want, even in the customer service sucks.

        • Realcool2000

          Only thing that doesn’t matter is yer opinion bout Tmobile. They still make money and will continue to do so, just like your naivete continue unhinged.

        • Brent

          Yesterday you just said they should get rid of value. You obviously have no gasp in what our would take. Oh and next time I said I wanted regular unleaded.

    • Brent

      because having options for a lower plan is such a terrible idea

  • Guest

    All carriers have a shared minutes family plan. Why can’t they offer a shared GB data plan. My wife and I each have the 5gb data plan but combined we don’t even use 4gb total. And since it’s a shared plan one can’t have a 2gb plan and the other a 5gb plan. TMO why don’t you be the first to offer a shared data plan and be innovative to bring in new customers.

    • Aaron Peromsik

       Ting.com got there first. Sparse device selection though.

    • Ben McRill

      Rumor has it that family data might be something to look for in the very near future. 

    • Magenta Man

      You both don’t have to have the same data plan. Not sure who told you that. If you have a grandfathered plan then “yes” the smallest unlimited plan is the 5GB. If you have a “Classic Plan” then you could have the 2GB and the wife could have the 5GB or vise versa. I am assuming you must have a “grandfathered” plan 

    • AnotherViewPoint

      Problem for carriers in this area from a financial standpoint.  Why give up $20 to $30 per phone on a family plan (I have four phones, with $20 data each = $80 month) when I could get by with much less in a shared data world for about half.  From a carrier perspective, they just lowered one of their primary financial indicators – ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).  So, although good for the customer, bad for the carrier (whether TMO, ATT, Verizon, etc.).

  • perfectalpha

    Isn’t att Americas largest 4g network?

    • Aaron Tant

      nope.  Again, T-Mobile added more 4G cities just the other day.

  • Simi4

    Wish they’d make the 49.99 available to single customers too

  • antoine harrison

    I wish they would shift there focus to making better phones and not these mid range phones. 

    • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

      T-Mobile doesn’t make phones.

      • InvisibleHand

        T-Mobile doesn’t manufacture the phones but they definitely “make” them in terms of defining requirements for the manufacturers. That is why most high-end T-Mobile phones are really only at the top of the mid-range class. T-Mobile doesn’t believe that people are willing to pay for a legitimate superphone. This is why Verizon’s Droid brand has always been better than the MyTouch and why AT&T got the Note etc. It’s a risk to release top-tier phones.

        • http://twitter.com/Serotheo Simon Yu

          There’s only a few phones that T-Mobile probably does make, that being the MyTouch line and Sidekick..

          However, I’d rather not see T-Mobile ask to have a phone made and have them carry an OEM flagship, stopping the manufacturing of another unnecessary device and not contributing to fragmentation. (Seeing as it’d probably be like this phone.. an off-shoot of a Flagship, and not in the goodway i.e. Skyrocket) 

        • Eanfoso

          Lol you’re a moron, they do not even touch the phones, they are strictly made by a manufacturer, like htc and Samsung, that’s like saying AT&T makes the iPhone now not all phones support tmobiles HSPA+ bands, only certain phones do, the good thing is that tmobile USA uses the same network as tmobile uk or tmobile Germany, now if you want to get a top-tier phone, get it, aka a Nokia N9 runs on tmobiles 4G network, but doesn’t get even 2g with at&t

        • InvisibleHand

          Yeah, the don’t touch the phones; that’s why the hardware works on the network and the T-Mobile apps are baked in. The fact that you try and use the iPhone as an example of the norm in phone manufacturing proves your ignorance almost as well as your inability to punctuate a sentence. 

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Really they should focus on improving their coverage, but I digress.

    I think as time goes on their shouting from the rooftops about their “4G” network is going to start to backfire as VZW and AT&Ts LTE networks fill in.  I realize they are already committed to the “4G” label but we are already getting to the point where saying they have “America’s Largest 4G Network” is kind of like the old Iraqi information minister holding press conferences to tell reporters that the Americans were nowhere near Bagdhad with Apache helicopters flying in the background.

    • Frigadroid

      That’s what I thought why continue to boast about 4g when Joe Average Sixpack has all ready decided he has to have LTE? Most people know tmobile 4g is more of a net than a blanket anyway once you hit the city line you go back to edge or G. Tmobile needs to fire the moron who signs off on these same ignorant failed marketing plans over and over again. It reminds me of the Bill Murray movie groundhog day.

  • Gwapo

    Tmo should have Data Shared Plan :0)…

  • WillieFDiaz

    So they are continuing to push expensive non subsidy devices, with contracts on value plans? I fail to see how this is a shift.

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

      The shift is in marketing. They’ve realized that “You pay full price AND you pay an ETF if you change carrier within two years!” isn’t resonating with the public, so they’re saying “FOUR GEE! FOUR GEE! FOUR GEE!” instead.

      It’s not a change in what they’re selling, it’s a change in what they’re saying. That’s all.

  • CCollision

    Does this mean they’ll look into HSPA+ data hanging/stalling at times? I know I’m probably in the minority but on my G2x, data will stall at times for 20 or so seconds when I click a link.

  • EXIBITman

    T mobile has the largest 4Gs network and the fastest. 4Gs network. att +VERIZON + SPRINTS are still lagging behind in recent speeds test. my backup phone Exhibits 2 is faster then verizon razers maxxs in a recent test i had with co-worker

    • http://www.thegadgetgurus.net Vic

      While I will admit T-Mobile has a solid 4G network, what tests are you talking about? The only nationwide tests I remember seeing where from last year (between June and September) which stated Verizon had the fastest 4G network. I would imagine that technically AT&T has the current fastest 4G network for their LTE users since they’re are not that many people on it yet.

  • OldPro

    Shared family data would be the thing that would get my attention.  How about something for all of us people that would use features but just aren’t heavy users of any one thing, say shared 700 minutes, 500 msgs and 2 gb data for two lines. 

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

    The entire “Value Plan” concept needs to go.

    - Just because it’s “value” at launch doesn’t mean it’s value a month later. The value plans don’t actually look significantly better than the market average, once prepaid and budget carriers are put in the loop.
    - Yes, people who don’t buy subsidized phones shouldn’t pay a subsidy. But given that churn is less of a problem if someone doesn’t buy a subsidized phone (that is, it’s roughly the cost of a SIM card and fifteen minutes of a salesperson’s time to aquire an unsubsidized customer, vs $200-300+those factors for a subsidized one, so churn is less expensive), why require contracts with ridiculous ETFs?

    The Value Plans go against the entire T-Mobile “atmosphere” that’s kept me as a customer for years. Yes, I want value for money, but the high quality and lack of restrictions that attracted me to T-Mobile/Voicestream to begin with are vastly more important than temporarily cheap plans.

    If I wanted cheap, I’d go with MetroPCS.

    • Ben McRill

      except that T-Mobile operates a much larger network with extremely fast 4g in comparison to the budget carriers. It also has roaming with ATT and wifi calling for those times when you are out of service. They are also rolling out LTE. The values plans have a contract because of ability to pay out phones over time. That is why. Yes they could have an option for those that want to pay full price up front with no contract….. it’s called pre-paid. If you want a regular service plan with no contract they could possibly create that but then everyone would complain about that as well. An unlimited TTW line at ATT  or Verizon would cost you about $110+ a month (with a 2gb data overage). At t-mobile you could pay $60! Even paying $600 for a phone there and $200 with someone else(subsidized) you would make that $400 price difference back in 7 months and save over 50$/month for the rest of the term.

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

        Most of the budget networks are MVNOs and thus have Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or even T-Mobile’s network. Coverage issues always depend upon where you are – right now I have no 3G at work, and would actually be better off switching to MetroPCS.

        As far as your comments about the value plans go – no, they’re not. The difference between Value and Classic is that Value plans do NOT contain phone subsidies.

        Pre-paid is not the same service as regular. You get a stripped down phone service, missing basic features like call forwarding, and customer support is terrible. It’s not comparable to EM+ or anything remotely like that.

        T-Mobile used to have EM+. It was a contract free, decently priced, service that wasn’t stripped down in any way. Nobody complained about it – it was extremely popular. Value plans offer virtually no cost advantages over EM+, but require a 24 month service commitment. EM+ made sense. Values plans do not. Value plans are obsolete and overpriced as soon as you start advertising them. You can’t compete on cost alone.

        • Ben McRill


          If you want a regular service plan with no contract ….”

          I am aware of the limitations on pre-paid but it is the same limitations on the companies you say you would rather go to. The reason EM+ does not exist anymore is due to the extremely large number of people that do not pay their bills and run to another company. I have no problem with T-Mobile protecting the bottom line. The value plans are great value no matter how you dice it. EM+ caused MASSIVE churn and I am glad it is gone.

        • Bizznezzman

          I don’t get it S Slash … The Value Plans allow T-Mobile customers to beg or borrow or reactivate old handsets and, oh yes, even buy new/used handsets from any source. With Value Plans the customer provides the handsets; then T-Mobile provides the services — at reduced rates. EM+ Plans were more expensive than Value Plans. Yes, T-Mobile will allow Value Plan customers the opportunity to finance new handsets — interest free — for up to 20 months, but T-Mobile is interested in providng services, not handsets. Apple is the only company making big money on handsets. All of the other cell phone suppliers have razor-thin margins in the US markets. Not so overseas, but that is a different story.