The Best Of The Rest From Deutsche Telekom’s Investor Conference: LTE, Network Modernization, Customer Service

 

Wow, what a day for T-Mobile, its employees, it’s customers and the promise for its future. Even with the iPhone and Value Plan announcements, there’s still more to cover from todays investor conference:

  • Let’s talk LTE for a moment as T-Mobile’s CEO stated that coverage will expand to 100 million LTE pops for the first half of 2013, with the second half of 2013 expanding to 200 million POPs covered. Release 10 LTE (2×10, 2×20) will better performing than all other competitors.
  • Looking at the network modernization efforts on the 1900MHz band, T-Mobile is spending $4 billion in 2012, $4.8 billion in 2013 and a total of $6 billion between 2014 and 2015.
  • “In total, $10.7 billion in investment will be made over the next 3 years”
  • All that leads to 100 million pops on 1900MHz before the end of 2012, which tells us there are plenty of markets left to launch.
  • Thus far, T-Mobile’s network modernization project has led to a 30% rise in data traffic, 10% rise in voice traffic, 75% drop in blocked calls and a 35% drop in dropped calls.
  • It’s clear that Deutsche Telekom is re-committed to the future of their US branch as Rene Obermann called the US “the most important game-changer for Telekom’s future.” That’s a pretty stark difference from the days of trying to dump the company on AT&T.

When it comes to customer service, T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere didn’t mince any words when it came to what the company had once achieved with numerous JD Power awards and pledged to find that success again. Legere spoke about T-Mobile’s trouble with helping customers due to employees who found themselves with their hands tied and unable to best serve the customer. Accountability has been lost said Legere, but he was forceful in his promise to return the company to customer service glory.

His plans include empowering front-line employees to do the right thing for customers, ensuring consistency of policies, investing in systems for providing superior experiences across all interactions and turning detractors into supports using programs such as “voice of customer.” T-Mobile sounds like a much different company today than it did yesterday and if they can meet the lofty goals they’ve announced, their challenger strategy just might pay off in a big way.

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  • JB

    This is what I like to hear! Magenta in it to win it!!

    • nycplayboy78

      You betta holla :)

  • http://www.kdmstance.com BiGMERF

    Great stuff..

  • PiCASSiMO

    Looking forward to 2013 when I will unleash LTE from my Nexus 4…

  • niididdy

    Amen… Let’s go TMO!!

  • Trevnerdio

    I like this Legere guy. I hope he sticks around for awhile.

    • http://twitter.com/kevoptimus Kevin

      I agree. He’s a great asset for TMo.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mrice.hill Mr. Hill

    T-Mobile has rebounded nicely from the AT&T buyout debacle

    2013 they’re poised to make waves in the cell arena.

  • 30014

    As far as customer service goes, it doesn’t matter what they do if they don’t bring the call centers back to the US. I’m tired of dealing with foreign reps that can only read from a prepared script.

    • thepanttherlady

      Absolutely agree!

      • nycplayboy78

        AMEN!!!!

    • Hyuri

      My experiences must be anomalous then, as I’ve never spoken to a phone rep whose accent did not virtually scream “English as first language”. I’ve also had nothing but good experiences with support – though my sole encounter with sales was filled with lies about rate plans only discovered too late. On the other hand I walked away from the call with almost $300 in equipment (at then-new customer prices) for free, so I consider it a wash.

    • xmiro

      you on pre-paid? Im post paid on classic and the several times I’ve called I dealt with reps in Bellevue or New Mexico

      • thepanttherlady

        Prepaid aren’t the only customers that get out-sourced to the Philippines. It’s frustrating as hell.

        • xmiro

          hm, never knew of this. Could be they’re using the outsourced centers for the extra call volumes beyond normal?

        • TonyPerez123

          i personally noticed the outsourcing only on weekends,especially sundays ^^

        • Dimitri Gatsiopoulos

          Could be because most US companies shut down on the weekends and major holidays. I’ve never once been outsourced making a call to Tmo.

          With that said, VIZIO, by far has the best customer service of any company I have ever called. I get my calls sent to Montana and the process of getting a hold of someone and getting an issue fixed is painless. More companies should learn from them.

      • 30014

        Not pre-paid, post paid since 03. Haven’t talked to an American rep since 2010.

    • Tmorep

      Agreed

    • fixxmyhead

      ive NEVER had any problems with ‘foregin reps’. idk what u guys are talking about. they always solve all my problems. sure they might have an accent but there nice and helpful

  • tmobile employee

    then why is tmobile Gabriel Torres instruckting the lower ranks to fire anyone within a month if they don’t make there goals

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

      Give Legere some slack! He’s probably only come up with the plan a few weeks ago. It takes time to flesh it out and implement.

  • no2apple

    feel so good…
    Thanks At&T…

  • bleeew

    What is the theoretical speed of 2×10 LTE-A and 2×20 LTE-A? I thought the “35,000 towers and counting” was bad marketing.

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

      2×10 LTE-A can do 500Mbps on the downlink and a bit less than half that on the uplink with latency between 5-80ms. 2×20 LTE-A doubles all that and essentially guarantees sub 50ms latency.

  • Tom

    Too much outsourcing those reps in india drive me crazy so I canceled.

  • Tom

    Those reps suck!

  • achusaysblessyou

    Awesome, go Magenta! and hurry with my Note II update please!

    • Chris

      Ugggh multiwindow where are yooooou

  • http://twitter.com/kevoptimus Kevin

    It’s a very exciting time for all of us TMo’ers! Can’t wait to see LTE in full effect. AND the iPhone!

  • tmobile employee

    Doing the right thing is not what keeps us with jobs at T-mobile.

    Every store in the company or some markets had a meeting informing Management of a plan of action if we sales reps miss our months activation goals we will soon be fired. how can we think about service when it does not have any weight on how we keep our jobs. I think we have a Ceo that cares however i think he has not been informed of what is going on in some markets. Please fire Gebriel Torres he is the regional vp. Ever since he started working for T-mobile he has applied this extremist behavior culture .Gebriel Torres does not care about employees he does not greet them when he visits the stores. all he cares about is how to squeeze every once of money out of the employees and then fire them like trash when they cant keep up with extreme numbers. As employees we look at whats important to us and keeping our jobs and is important. How can we have the luxury to spend an hour or so to solve customers problems and trying to save them from leaving T-mobile when it does not count at the end of the month when we get reprimanded and most likely fired. T-Mobile use to care so about there employees. Please treat us like human beings not disposable trash.

    • Tmorep

      Agreed

  • OnlineRefugee

    I know T-Mobile execs read these boards now.

    Message to TMOUS (no charge for my pearls of wisdom):

    - Keep your eye on Carlos Slim. He is making a play for wireless broadband. He knows that’s the next big shift, as people tire of paying cable companies outrageous prices for bundled TV and a modem and want the convenience of portable WiFi instead of landline DSL. (So went landlines, DSL will follow.)

    - Carlos is talking to Clear about acquiring it. And he is making underground moves in Europe as he tries to become a respectable player. The guy wants to be the Bill Gates of wireless, and as the world’s richest man, and king of wireless in Mexico and South America, he can do what he wants.

    - Watch out for Softbank’s Masayoshi Son. He has an ego bigger than Mr. Slim’s. He is looking for a fight and will be looking to clobber AT&T, just because. He too is eyeballing wireless broadband “dongles” replacing cable/DSL as the next big thing.

    - Make a move for prepaid wireless broadband. More and more Americans want to cut the cable and use one of those Fig Newton sized “thingies” as their home wireless connection.

    - Finance high end phones on prepaid. Give people up to six months to pay. Don’t make these loans subject to credit approval.

    Easy payment plans on phones will bring people to T-Mobile. And they will stay, as if they are on contract, because they don’t want their loan to become due if they switch carriers.

    - Customer service? I dunno, it may be too late to undo the damage caused by your employees, who have spent the last three years doing all they can to convince customers that they (the customer) are the problem, not the employee.

    Then again, customers are getting used to robotic and furriner customer service. They simply want their problem solved, questions answered, promises kept. They no longer care about the CSR’s accent, as long as the customer can understand what’s being said, of course.

    That’s all I got for now.

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

      Financing without credit check would be hard. There’s already options for those who want to do that anyway. BillFloat, for one. Another is PayPal, through its MasterCard program.

  • M42

    I can’t find their HSPA+ 4G anywhere, so I have no expectations of ever seeing LTE. And no, I don’t live out in the sticks. I’m in a metro area with a population of 400,000, that intersects two major interstates. But maybe that’s two small for T-Mobile. Not to small for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, which have all blanketed the area with 4G. T-Mobile things Edge is just fine and wastes money moving Edge from one band to another trying to fool us that they’re actually accomplishing something.

    • Porkistanis_suck

      Dumbass if you are getting EDGE now you will get 4G when they refarm – calm down

      • M42

        No douchebag we’re not. The refarm is not about upgrading but about moving whatever was on 1700 to 1900. If is 3G it gets moved. If it was Edge it gets moved, not upgraded. This is according to T-Mobile. They’re just shuffling peas under the shell to make room for LTE, which they’re putting on 1700 which is going be incompatible for roaming purposes with everybody else, who has LTE on 700MHZ.

        • philyew

          Even carriers with LTE on the 700Mhz band are going to have compatibility issues. Last I read, Verizon’s 700 band allocation is not necessarily compatible with AT&T’s…and – once again – if you don’t read it in any of the other messages – EDGE is NOT on the AWS band. It’s a 2.5G technology that operates on the PCS 1900 band and will remain there.

    • philyew

      TM aren’t moving EDGE from one band to another. They are making space on the PCS band previously dedicated to 2G (GPRS, EDGE) to allow some 3G/HSPA+ service to be moved over, making space in turn to deploy LTE.

      That said, if your local towers don’t currently support 3G/HSPA+ on the AWS band, then you won’t be getting 3G/HSPA+ on the PCS band or LTE any time soon.

      If you can’t get 3G/HSPA+ anywhere in the whole of the metro area, but the data coverage map says that you should be able to, then it’s most likely a setting issue or problem on your phone, not the network.

      • BiggiePhat

        I get edge inside my home and work place and hspa+ everywhere else. refarming isn’t going to fix that….

        • philyew

          Actually, one of the claims made by TM is that they are seeing a 15-20% improvement in in-home coverage as a result of the refarm. You can see the data point on one of the slides used to illustrate their Capital Markets Day presentation yesterday.

        • smylax

          It depends, if you get HSPA+ outside your home, for example in your yard/driveway/etc. the refarm MIGHT help strengthen the signal since T-Mobile has a lot of spectrum in the 1900 band. But if its EDGE out there too, then yep, EDGE it will remain.

      • M42

        I think you contradicted yourself. Anyway, you agree with what T-Mobile customer service has said and that is they are indeed moving Edge to 1900, not upgrading the towers to 3G/4G. They’re just clearing out 1700 for LTE. So there aren’t going to be any improvements. For those areas that didn’t already have 3G/4G it’s going to stay the same, except Edge is going to be on a different frequency.

        I also wonder why T-Mobile insists on keeping 1700 when everybody else’s LTE will be on 700? Phone makers have said they aren’t interested in making phones with the 1700 band because nobody else uses it.

        • philyew

          1900 MHz is PCS.

          EDGE is a 2.5G technology and currently resides entirely on the PCS 1900 band and will remain there. No change, just a narrower allocation of PCS spectrum.

          TM have freed up sufficient spectrum on the PCS 1900 band to allow a part of the 3G/HSPA+ services to be moved over from the AWS (1700/2100) band onto the PCS 1900 band.

          That allows them to assign AWS spectrum to LTE.

          Is that clearer? I don’t think there were any contradictions before or now.

          TM uses 1700 MHz because they have no choice. That was the spectrum available in the 2006 FCC auction when they were buying bandwidth to support their 3G deployment. They didn’t participate in the auction of the 700Mhz band, probably because they stood no chance of outbidding Verizon and AT&T to establish a nationwide footprint in that spectrum range.

          Carriers don’t have much choice over the bandwidth they utilize, unless they acquire it by auction or transfer (approved by the FCC), then hoard it for future use (and to undermine the competition) as has been AT&T and Verizon’s practice in the past.

          Since it costs $$ billions to acquire nationwide coverage, TM have been the most efficient users of network spectrum among the top carriers, but it does mean that they have to carry out these refarming activities in order to launch a new network technology, and do horse-trading (with Verizon) and acquisition (MetroPCS) to expand its depth of service, since there is no FCC-controlled spectrum currently available to purchase.

          Had the AT&T takeover not failed and AT&T been obliged to hand over over a $ billion-worth of AWS spectrum in the break-up deal, TM would not now be in a position to launch any kind of LTE network.

        • smylax

          Simple. Because T-Mobile bought 1700 MHz spectrum when it was the only extra spectrum available. It wasn’t until 2 years later that the 700 MHz spectrum was put up for auction. Also, not everyone is using 700 MHz, only AT&T and VZW. Sprint is rolling it out on the PCS band (1900). And they are not moving EDGE to 1900, its already on 1900. Only HSPA+ that is currently on 1700 is being moved to 1900 so they can use 1700 for LTE. And correct, if you don’t have 3G/4G now, you probably won’t get it later. And if so, it probably won’t be until after LTE is completely rolled out, so that’s a good way off. For one reason or another, T-Mobile has decided your town isn’t worth the investment. After all, that’s what it is all about: investment. If it will cost them more to put it there than they would get back, they won’t do it. And for that matter, that’s how every company decides where to put it. Your town probably has lots of AT&T/Sprint/Verizon customers, and those carriers decided there was enough of a customer base there to roll it out, but there aren’t enough T-Mobile customers. So basically, T-Mobile has decided its not worth it there.

  • joel

    i love tmobile

  • Winski

    PROVE IT.

  • scsa852k@gmail.com

    There will NEVER be a dramatic change to Customer Service,
    unless there’s a dramatic change in hiring people with a brain as their reps.

  • mdco

    I almost didn’t sign up for Tmo again this time and it was 90% because of my interactions with customer service which were truly awful. It wasn’t like that when I signed up. The last two interactions I’ve had were very positive and were with people in the US – unlike all the interactions I had for the last year and a half that were awful. I was 2 days from switching to Verizon when Tmo offered actual unlimited data. So, I risked it and signed up. So far, so good.