Grading The First Quarter Results For The Big 4

Look, the bottom line is we know T-Mobile’s first quarter numbers that dropped earlier this week could have been better. They could have been ALOT better. As Verizon and AT&T pull away from the pack and as Sprint struggles the time is ripe for T-Mobile to make big moves, at least enough with which they can hurdle themselves back into the contest for third place. Sprint is ahead by 14 million customers but struggling with losses on a consistent basis. There is a constant argument in our comments as to whether or not it’s the handsets that T-Mobile falters on or something else. Personally, I don’t think the handsets matter as much as the marketing and the image. Where T-Mobile needs improvement is in name recognition and that’s all marketing. We tend to pass this message along quite frequently and T-Mobile if you are listening and since I know you are please please please do something with the marketing. Bite back against the AT&T’s and the Verizon’s of the world. I’m still sold my Catherine Zeta Jones commercial idea where she is trying to make a call on the iPhone on AT&T, can’t and then walks into a T-Mobile store. A 30 second spot and its awesome, at least I think so. I don’t know the semantics of marketing and I don’t pretend to know them, but I can say that I know what my readers see and hear and that’s something I know A LOT about. I know what the people think and they think its either handsets or marketing. I think it’s definitely the latter over the former.

Do your current customers a favor, do your future customers a favor and work just a little harder to separate yourself from the pack. Arguing over which “G” is more important in the grand scheme of things means very little as it’s a battle you are likely not to win. Customers will see 4G and immediately think its better than 3.5G and that’s just the world we live in. Four is better than 3 and that’s that. What you can do, what you need to do is work more on the message rather than the semantics of what the message entails. Get a good campaign together and the message takes on a world of its own. The magenta faithful are waiting, are you listening?

Image courtesy of FierceWireless

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  • Hmm

    If TMO ever starts spending real money on advertising then they may be able to catch Sprint. It goes hand and hand with phone options as well. 185 mil vs 250 mil for hspa+ coverage by the end of the year. One has an iphone and the other doesn’t? Hmmm, we can all say the iPhone ain’t all that but compared to the mytouch, g1, HD2, etc which has sold more units? ehh, anyway, I use a nokia anyway, can’t afford a 25$ data plan..

    • nikb

      Completely bogus. I have been with the pink T for 10 yrs now and its quality has gone from bad to worse. Customers need QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY is what customers want and they will pay for it. Look at Verizon’s ARPU and its the highest and its customer base is largest w/out the iphone. Tmo will either perish or be bought in the next 3-4 yrs, UNLESS they become extremely HIGH in QUALITY. Advise to tmo: Build Quality and customers will buy it, even at higher prices.

      • Marcel

        Quality in what have you been having problems with? Reception? Customer service? Data speeds?

  • Max

    They also need to increase their 3G coverage.This is very important.

    • Bryan

      Completely agree…Major reason why I left T Mobile for Big Red just a week ago. I was tired of always switching between EDGE and 3G.

      • rushmore

        At least you had 3G ;) I went from low 2G in most places and no coverage in some, to ALL 3G coverage with Verizon- in KY, of all places. Lexington has 3G, but is is laggy and only covers part of the city.

      • rushmore

        Unlike Tmo, which I was with for eight years, Verizon 3G is fast everywhere and their 1X is FASTER than Tmo 3G in Lexington. Wild.

      • Josh

        uh…no, Verizon’s 1X is way slower than T-mobile’s 3G in Lexington, especially around the campus area where my Droid will switch between 1x and revA all the time.

        Also, 1X can’t go faster than 300kbps…where t mobile can get least get to 600kbps.

      • rushmore

        South side of town, Tmo 3G is laggy and toggles from edge to 3G. Not tried it at UK or Transy- 1X performs much better than Tmo 3G this side of town.

      • rushmore

        Then again, I am comparing 1X in the two spots I had it in rural areas. Fast lag free 3G with VZW- everywhere in Lex area and surrounding areas.

    • Solrac924

      h3ll yeah. i’m also gonna bolt & head to VZN also since they haven’t done crap to improve my signal/speeds…even after i got 30+ co-workers to call in. screw that.

  • J

    T-Mobile will always lag behind the other 3 in advertising as long as they are part of DT. The wireless divisions of AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are all considered the most important parts of their companies. T-Mobile USA is second or third in importance to DT. T-Mobile USA will not get the type of funding that T-Moible International gets. I’d be willing to bet that Verizon gets more annually for advertising than T-Mobile USA gets for their entire operating budget. The best thing, in my opinion, to happen to T-Mobile would be to seperate itself from DT and become its on entity. T-Mobile USA makes a lot of money, but i don’t think enough of that money gets put back into T-Mobile USA’s expansion.

  • AndroidLover

    Marketing helps, but I’m a T-Mo customer who is considering switching to Big Red for the following 2 reasons:

    1) Increased coverage. Verizon just blows everyone out of the water in this category. I am in the Chicagoland area, and am sick of losing calls 2-3x during my commute due to dead zones that my Verizon-equipped colleagues do not suffer.

    2) Phone selection. T-Mo seems to be continuously behind the times with new offerings. Yes, we know of rumored phones that may compete somewhat well with the Droid, the Droid Incredible, the Sprint EVO 4G, and of course, the iPhone. By the time these come out, however, there will be yet NEW phones offered by the competition with even better specs (anyone see that new Windows 7 phone with the 1.2Ghz Snapdragon processor? Drool….).

    Yes, T-Mo is cheaper, but lately it seems you get what you pay for. I’m really hoping T-Mo can reverse this trend soon, or I’m outta here.

    • Bryan

      Well said. You certainly summed up my reasons for making the switch! Now, if my Incredible would just get here already :)

      • John

        I’m curious to know why you are still posting on this board if you are no longer a T Mo customer. Wouldn’t the natural move be to a Verizon board?

      • LuVmYbBuRrY

        Ummm I gotta say I agree with John. Why are you still on this board???

  • 30014

    To me tmobile’s problem is that they don’t know what kind of carrier that want to be. They are starting to offer phones and services like they are gunning for the big boys but price their plans to compete with the likes of boost ans metro pcs. And all they have to show for it is a net loss of 77,000 subscribers. Tmobile needs to decide if they want to be a budget carrier and go after boost and the other budget carriers or if they’re going to be a high value carrier and try to pass sprint and give the big 2 a run for their money. Tmo is hurting its self trying to be everything to all people. That’s just my opinion.

  • Alan

    I agree that coverage is a big issue. At home, I would love it if I had Bryan’s problem of switching between EDGE and 3G. What I actually have, I suppose, could be called 0G–no coverage of any kind at all.

  • nell_z

    Its not so much the handsets, but the overall network coverage T-Mobile has (or doesn’t have). To be competitive (and, therefore, beat Sprint) T-Mobile needs to invest in 3G big time! AT&T has the iPhone, hence their big customer base. Verizon and Sprint has the coverage (the Droid campaign helped a lot too, I’m sure). T-Mobile needs just 2 things: (1) more coverage if their 3G network and (2) an EPIC advertisement campaign of their Android handset lineup. I’m thinking make the mainstream Android phones all MyTouch, but make the superphones Sidekicks (to compete with Droid). Project Emerald (instead if just being a rumor) really should be advertised on TV. Like have a commercial where there’s an emerald and it starts to illuminate with the whole screen going green. Then towards the end the lighting dies off and the screen shows (Coming soon to T-Mobile). EPIC! Full of advice T-Mobile…..

  • Will

    I agree. I’ve been a T-Mobile customer since Voicestream, and I’ve always been disappointed with their handsets as well as marketing. T-mobile over and over again fails to provide the type of advertising that works. Yes, the majority of their advertising does convey how much cheaper they are in contrast to the competition, but that does not attract many customers. For example, ATT & Verizon, their plans are insanely high, but why do they have such a large subscriber base. Because of their marketing, they get their phones out there and make them those “gotta have” for the season. Many people would rather have the latest and greatest phones instead of outdated ones the T-mobile produces.

    Lately I’ve noticed hype of the Mytouch Slide. I still remain clueless as to why people are so gaga over such a lame phone. And if T-mobile does the same kind of marketing they did with the Mytouch, with the D list celebrities, I see the phone as a big failure for T-mobile. The only phone currently I see bringing in customers is the HTC HD2, and that phone will soon be out dated and overshadowed by the HTC EVO. Furthermore, T-mobile even does a piss poor job getting that phone out there, because the only commercials I see actually advertising the phone are HTC produced. However, there are T-mobile place it in their commercials at the end of their lame “Add a line” crap. T-mobile should advertised that phone like ATT did with the iPhone, making it seem better than it is. They should make it seem like the multimedia powerhouse it is, as well as mention the Windows Marketplace (because people love them some apps)to make people believe that the same benefits exist with the HD2 that exist with the iPhone. Now I’m not saying that T-mobile should mislead potential customers, I’m just saying they should enhance the truth a bit. For example, Verizon, before they released the Droid they released an apple like commercial highlighting everything the iPhone does not do, and then said
    “Droid does”.Which created the necessary hype for the phone. And currently their really illuminating the Android app store, by saying that it’s ever expanding and such. Which seemed to turn their Droid into a real competitor for the iPhone.

    Well, that’s enough of my little rant about T-mobile because I could go on an on about it if you let me. However, I have not seen or know where T-mobile’s energy is focused these days but it does not seem to be in customer service or aggressive advertising to build and maintain their subscriber base. And one last thing before I sign off, I find it instresting that “Value” the one thing I could always say T-Mobile was the best in is now overshadowed and boasted by Sprint with their everything for $69.99 plan. Come on T-mobile, keep up!

    • rushmore

      Rather than blowing money with celeb commercials, Tmo would be better off paying more incentive to their phone partners for better devices. The MyTouch Slide is sad, IF it is really their flagship.

      • shakarak

        Have you played with the Mytouch Slide? Have you read the reviews on it yet. The sense that htc has installed on it is absolutely amazing. Total different kind of phone and it’s snappy as hell. I have one myself (an employee) with over 60 apps installed using it all day it still runs flawlessly with little lag.

      • LuVmYbBuRrY

        Yup, gotta say the mytouch slide is awesome. Im a truly dedicated blackburry as i like to call it user and i played with the mytouch slide and its pretty amazing. Im almost considering leaving the blackberry family for once and switching over to android just because of this mytouch slide has got me sold!

  • Bill Berry

    Don’t get me started on T-Mobile USA and the brain trust that runs it….

  • Datdude

    I have been reading what all of you have said. Some is true but most is false. T-Mobile USA need to rethink a lot it does from the ground up starting with advertising. Before the merger of AT&T an Cingular Wireless AT&T didn’t advertise they put there money in the net work and let the customer sale the product and the stores sale the service. Myself of 75% of buyer don’t go into a store an say “ I wont the Phone that caliber has” i.e. .Dwayne Wade ,Whoopi Goldberg (who said on the View she doesn’t carry a phone) CATHERINE ZIMA JONES in Zima Jones. The people cone back to the store carouse the reps in the stores TELL THE CUSTOMER WHAT IS ON THE WAY!!!!!!!!!! I have been always been told if you wont to mark in the market you need to DICTATE THE MARKET (Even More & Even More Plus did that). Get in valve were you are (the community) an get off the TV. People like to know your not a leach you put back were you are getting it from

  • Rick

    Hire Megan Fox to do T-Mobile commercials!

    • Kickstar13, Editor

      Haha I’m with you there!

  • Joel

    So many people seem to focus on 3G, but I think the problem lies even more with their voice coverage. I work in the film business and it seems like half the locations I work at I’m the only one who can’t simply make a phone call. All the other carriers seem to be fine. Makes my life a little hard having to borrow other people’s cell phones. I’m loyal to a fault unfortunately and won’t likely make the move (unless I start making some real money maybe), but the frustration’s there. So, it’s a little hard for me to argue when people move. A decent phone might make me forget about the other problems though.

  • Winmoalso

    I keep T-Mobile because I travel internationally, to Europe. Overseas GSM is king. In the states, I always take a Verizon prepaid if I’m travelling in rural and especially desert areas out west. They have coverage where no one else does. Tmo will never be able to compete with Verizon in coverage. Maybe when LTE gets here they will have a roaming agreement with VZ but until then we are stuck in 4th place.

    • going_home

      Unfortunately Verizon has THEE worst customer service on the planet, and they have the most expensive rates too (there’s an extra charge for just about everything). Although Sprints customer service is legendarily bad too.
      Verizon here in the Tampa area is the land line provider, I had a $20.00 land line bill I forgot to pay…..the late charge was $7.00. That was the last straw, I no longer have a land line. I wouldn’t say I hate Verizon, strong dislike would be more accurate.


      • rushmore

        I was with Tmo for eight years and been with Verizon several weeks. Verizon seems just as good as Tmo (good). I pays $30 more a month, but have 3G and actual phone coverage everywhere. I also use the built in tethering and third part app with my M11X net/game book. Rocks.

  • Nick

    Start giving consumers better phone options and the numbers will increase. Man how I salivate over these new phones coming out, yet other companies swallow them up. To me it’s is simple, better phone and I will buy it. Love my G1 but starting to feel like the first Nokia I got back in 1999.

  • TheBuckII

    Maybe it’s just me but I always seem to have service where ever I go with TMo and people who I travel with have VZW & Sprint and sometimes ATT who never have service. They are behind in the technology field with coming out with there 3g towers but I honestly think it’s about the phones. If we had the phones that people want and started marketing for phones that TMo will get. The customer base would be there. TMo constantly campaigns on there lower price but never ever mention there phones (because they are lame and they know it lol) but I will always be with TMo have been with them since they were voicestream but c’mon WE WANT PHONES WE WANT PHONES WE WANT PHONES LOL

  • ThreeFourSeven

    The biggest problem with T-Mobile are two things. Image and coverage. I always hear that, I’m leaving T-Mobile cause there coverage sucks.

  • Mark1016

    I think part of the problem with TMO is their service is not what it once was. We were willing to accept smaller coverage areas because of the service. Anymore, service reps are rude and unbending. TMO has taken away all flexibility from the SRs, so unless the computer says they can do it, they can’t.

    I live in the Baltimore/Washington corridor and T-Mobile has dismal coverage compared to ATT and Verizon. With 7 million people in the area, you would think they would have enough towers.

    I have been with TMO since 2004 and may switch to Verizon when my contract expires.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Interesting that in all the posts you are the only one who mentioned crappy customer service. I too agree that T-Mobile’s customer service is so bad that it now is acting like Sprint did back when I quit that company in 2006.

      T-Mobile’s service used to be legendary. Everyone would comment how great it was and that it was the reason people stayed loyal to T-Mobile.

      — Back in 2005 you could call T-Mobile 24/7. No longer, custo service closes at about 10 or 11 and opens at 6 am.

      — CSRs always made us feel like they were an advocate for us, bending over backward to help us with any problem we might have, making suggestions to save us money or to get the best deal. No longer. As you say, they are now rude and uncaring.

      And no way do they look after us. In March 2010 a CSR said if I signed up for a two year contract extension I would get a partial discount on the phone. She tried to get me to agree to that two years in exchange for… drum roll… a $40 discount off the full price of a BlackBerry 9700. Yeah, yeah, it’s buyer beware and shame on me if I agreed to such a stupid deal. But since when is it OK to make such a ridiculous offer to a customer.

      — They are also incompetents or liars. Literally one person will promise something then when you later call another CSR about the promise that CSR will deny the promise was made and even say they have no record of the call.

      — CSRs are now condescending and rude. A month ago I had an overcharge on my bill. The CSR told me I did not understand the bill and belittled me for my supposed incompetence. When I asked for a supervisor to complain about the CSR’s behavior he said “Why do you want to talk to a supervisor, she is going to tell you the same thing, you don’t know how to read your bill.”

      When the supervisor got on the phone I explained my complaint about the CSR. She then sided with him, but as she was listening to me she was checking the records on screen. She then admitted that I was double billed. She never did apologize for the CSR’s behavior.

      — And I had to call for two months before they finally gave me the $70 refund on the over charge. Each time I called about it they acted like they had inputted the refund order, but I never got it. Finally on a third call, two months later someone inputted the correct information in under a minute and the refund showed up on my online statement (prior calls they said the refund would not show up for a few weeks.)

      — Now T-Mobile is outsourcing customer service. Last Saturday I called about a discrepancy between My Account info I saw on my HD2 and what I knew my plan to be. I called 611 and was put on hold for 20 minutes. When the CSR answered her accent was so thick I could barely understand what she was saying.

      Making matters worse she could not understand what I was asking about. She simply kept explaining my plan details when I wanted to know why My Account said my monthly charges were $205 instead of what I knew them to be, $140.

      When I asked where she was located she became evasive. When I asked what country she was in she said “Company rules do not allow me to tell you that.” I asked “You can’t even say what country you are in?” She said no.

      I could tell that she was getting lost during the conversation because she was reading from a script and each time I asked a question she would stall while she looked up an answer.

      — The bad attitude of T-Mobile employees is evident even in here. More than a few people identifying themselves as T-Mobile employees have lashed out at others in here when they complain about T-Mobile or say they are switching. Some even complained about customers getting phones instead of them. They complained that when phones are in short supply that they should get the phone rather than the customer.

      You can all say I am just being nit picky and the T-Mobile employees can tell me to take a hike if I don’t like it, fine, I am not looking for you to understand. I’m just telling you why some people stayed with T-Mobile and why they left.

      And you can be sure that if T-Mobile continues to emulate Sprint’s conduct (that is, Sprint’s boorish behavior before they “repented” on those TV commercials currently being aired) then T-Mobile will suffer the same fate as Sprint. Except with T-Mobile DT will simply sell off TMOUS and let the buyer chop off the heads of the miscreants.

      The fact is, as I have said before, I don’t need the latest handsets, lowest plan price, and I can deal with calls being disconnected, as long as the customer service is the best.

      But based on my interaction with T-Mobile customer service since August 2009, I can say that there is no longer any reason whatsoever for me to stick with T-Mobile. While others talk about phones or coverage, for me what matters is how the company makes me feel. If they treat me like I’m lucky they let me pay them money each month, well, I’m outta here.

      Of course the comical thing is that T-Mobile could care less if we loyal, long term customers leave. I have given T-Mobile about $20,000 over time. While that’s not a big number if enough people like me leave, you can be sure T-Mobile will be the one on national TV saying “We get it, we apologize, please come back.” That is, T-Mobile can take Sprint’s place in those commercials. :)

      • NikK

        I can’t disagree more. Their Customer Service has been nothing but fantastic with me.

        They (and every company) do mark down if you are a troublesome customer, and with the amount of times you called and the tenacity of your post, they probably have you marked down as a “no no” customer and at that point feel it necessary to just tell it like it is (even if it’s wrong).

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        Fair enough Nik. That’s T-Mobile’s choice if they want to put me on your “no no” troublemaker list. What’s next, cancel my account like Sprint did when they unilaterally tossed customers they did not like or were, as you say, a “no no” customer.

        Actually you know nothing about me so don’t assume just because I have listed the issues and complained about T-Mobile’s customer service that I am the jerk here. I am in a field where being a prick is the fastest way to lose millions of dollars and get sued for malpractice. So don’t make assumptions about all this based on what you read on this Site.

        Besides, since 2006 on the BlackBerry forums I have always advised people having problems with his or her T-Mobile account that to get what you want you have to be respectful, polite and never get angry.

        But sure, put me on a list, just as Sprint did with thousands of customers.

        I am sure there were focus groups where Sprint employees reported back that “Well I contacted Nik and he said his experiences with customer service have been fantastic. So there is no problem with our customer service.”

        That’s fine, I accept that there’s a number of people who don’t subscribe to that maxim that the customer is always right and are fine with saying “it’s not me, it’s you.”

        In any event, your experiences with customer service are irrelevant since you have not had the number of transactions I have. If one orders phones (five since 2009) and makes plan changes (BlackBerry, G1, WinMo, Even More Plus) there’s plenty of opportunity for T-Mobile to screw things up and that is exactly what happened.

        What would YOU do if you ordered a BlackBerry 9700 and it does not show up for almost a month. Would you not call to find out where it is?

        Yes, ordering a BlackBerry 9700 took about nine calls to customer service (the ordering call, then a few where I said I did not get the order confirmation e-mail the CSRs said I would get in 24 hours and to call if I did not, then a few asking where is the phone, then finally a call to fix all the issues, where the CSR said that sanfransisco (sic) was misspelled.) So T-Mobile will put me on a list because I am calling too much? LOL.

        I wish in my profession I could massively screw up, then blame the client for my mistakes, and folloow that up with putting him on a list as being a troublemaker, and best of all, continue to take his money since he is none the wiser about my list and he should be lucky I am willing to keep him as a client.

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        Read the posts on this blog, Nik. Maybe you should contact them say they are imagining things because of your fantastic experiences with customer service. ;)

      • shakarak

        AS a T-Mobile employee in customer loyalty the amount of offers we give our long term customers is truly riduclous.

        Another thing I wanted to touch on is that T-Mobile has 20 call centers in the USA and the few we have that are outsourced (flexpay, account migrations, prepaid) Are actually in the transition phase of being IN source.

  • NiiDiddy

    Bottom line:

    1. Marketing, marketing, marketing…BETTER Marketing!!! I don’t care for the Celebs doing the marketing campaigns…and I don’t care for the commercials either. It’s gotta be better than that, and we need to go after Verizon, and ATT using the areas where T-Mobile fares the strongest…prices our service plans! Repetitive campaigns will beat it into the minds of viewers who will eventually become subscribers. We can’t beat them on phone devices; we can beat them with prices.

    2. Seriously, we should be able to match Verizon and ATT on phone devices. Personally I think we can currently match ATT devices since they have some crappy crap too […except for the iphone that gives them leverage over #3 and #4]. We cannot match device offerings from Sprint, let alone Verizon.

    3. Coverage, coverage and more coverage. We also need to start talking about coming up with better network speeds…work towards those speeds, and market it on tv! Sprint talks about 4G not without complete enhancements in network technology, but with simple network upgrades and tweaks using same hardware in existence…and they call it 4G.


  • Wilco

    Verizon has an unbelievable marketing campaign, and the phones to back. If T-Mo were to get some similar phones, and a solid marketing campaign, I’m guessing T-Mo wouldn’t be losing subscribers when Verizon and ATT are gaining. And don’t under estimate the power of the iPhone.

    TMO, get good phones and market them. It doesn’t help to run out of inventory (like on the HD2) on your top phones. For the android fans, get a decent android phone. Slide is not the answer. Top specs to sell those phones. I believe the excitement over top phones (like iPhone, Droid, Incredible) will also drive lower-level phone sales.

    I’m sure TMO knows this, and there must be some reason TMO has a inferior selection of android phones. Just wished I understood it. I have till June 1 to stay with TMO. Would love to. I like the company. But I’m not going to stay with TMO unless they deliver a decent android phone. I’m hearing rumors, but I need to see something announced. Why hold back any announcements? Too many other options.

  • Bryan

    As far as I’m concerned and I can’t speak for anyone else but a company can have the best marketing out there, but if the product or service sucks I’m not going to sit there any say “Yea the service sucks and damn I hate always dropping calls and being on EDGE…But wait! I’m gonna stick with this company because they have the most awesome commercials!” lol get real.

    All marketing and advertising does is BRING people to your company…The products and possibly even more important (customer service) is what KEEPS customers and gains new ones.

    • NiiDiddy

      The point is not cool commercials, but commercials that are effective in bringing customers in! I don’t care what the commercials are, but if they are cool and they work, then so be it. I don’t think anyone stays with a company because they have cool commercials; there are things people like which drives them to stay…not necessarily everything, but things important to them – only stupid people will stay because of a “cool commercial” which I can guarantee doesn’t happen. ie, I tried ATT in 2003 for a week after seeing a commercial – needless to say I was back with Tmobile within that same week because I hated everything that has to do with ATT Customer Service though the device I got then was pretty nifty.

      TMO’s current marketing campaign does not cut it at all. They can do a better job of it. Now that’s Step One. Step two is to back it up with great devices that can match VZW and ATT; also prices, and CS.

      In a nutshell, (A) Bring customers in and (B) Retain them.

  • hi!

    like someone said earlier, I’m basically stuck on TMobile because I travel internationally. Last year I spent time in 10 different countries.

    When the Palm Pre dropped what seems like eons ago I tried to leave, but that phone didn’t work internationally so Sprint was a no go for me. ATT works overseas but I refuse to pay those insane rates.

    In relation to this article I think it’s the phones that drive costumers. Sheeple don’t think about value or savings or Sprint and TMobile wouldn’t be fighting for last place.

    • rushmore

      That is an issue, but Android device are worthless, due to high international data roaming charges. Though we are now on Verizon, we will get prepaid plans from Tmo for England trips for our Tmo devices we just retired.

      We stayed with Tno due to travel overseas as well, but we are here 96% of the time. Verizon coverage is so much better. I hope Tmo makes huge improvements in two years, so we can look at going to them again. Assuming they have good evices, of course.

  • rushmore

    Tmo does not have a chance to catch sprint now. EVO is coming out and Tmo will lose more customers, even though Sprint 3G coverage is almost as bad as Tmo. Sprint uses the towers of VZW, but not the 3G.

    If there is any doubt phones create and keep customers, the Droid, Incredible and EVO should destroy any doubt. Actually, iPhone laready proved it on a sucky network.

    Look at Tmo;s customer bleed-rate. They are losing a net margin of customers. Tmo’s strategy of going low-end is starting to hurt them badly.

    • shakarak

      Have you looked at consumer reports for Sprint’s 3g? THey cover a tiny bit more customers but get more dropped calls and download speeds are often times 3 times as long.

      • rushmore

        I was not touting Sprint’s 3G, but the EVO. People will be leaving Tmo for Sprint, though same coverage, they have similar prices and a better flagship phone (EVO).

        Point being, upper mid and higger end consumers are getting tired of Tmo device offerings. I agree about Sprints 3G coverage. EVO could see backlash due to pushing 4G for the device, when most will be at Edge level speeds.

  • JT

    Two things:
    Coverage and phones.
    I was a T-mobile customer from 2003 to 2009 and never bought a single phone from them until I came back for HD2. I was sick of buying phones from ebay and had no support from T-mobile. They never had attractive phones as Verizon and Sprint do.

    Their coverage is also spotty and marginal. I have Verizon BB for work and T-Mobile for my personal use, Verizon has better coverage and T-Mobile rocks only in the BIG metro areas. Their 3G coverage is very limited and buggy, covers very limited area in the cities only. I travel all over US and so far Atlanta has best coverage for T-mobile, every where else I have been to really sucks.

  • ace

    I agree with most points here.

    I won’t rehash them all, but what good does bringing new acts in when you cannot keep the ones you have?

    Our churn is a joke. Of the big 4 only Sprint is close to us in churn and their number is getting better while TMO gets worse.

    I have been screaming from the rooftops for over 5 years about our rep with the buying public. We are like my pre teen kids……changing what they want to be every month.

    We try to be the low cost carrier.

    We try to be Vonage.

    We try to be everyone but T-Mobile….we have no idenity.

    We were the first to carry Android , but the public thinks the Droid was the first. Our ad campaign was terrible for that phone. Does anyone remember Verizons ad for the first Chocolate???? It was on for months. teasing us BEFORE the phone was launched and it sold great.

    We had a great flagship device with the Sidekick. Like it or not…the SK made us different and people wanted that phone, but we just kept putting out the same crap with a different face and people went elsewhere.

    Low price brings in bargain shoppers who will leave you in a heartbeat if they get pissed. Verizon has THE WORST customer service but the lowest churn. They cater to the business person, not ” I hope I pass my credit check” person.

    I have been trained in numerous “game changing” events at TMO but the game stays the same.@ Home, Even More, blah blah blah…all I hear is how we want to become a brand like Starbucks,Nike and Macys. I would love that but they all have the best products in their area of expertise. We do not. I have witnessed “our best phone line-up ever” numerous times and it’s still behind our competition.

    We can’t talk coverage because it’s not there. Our in home coverage is terrible. Our PCC that we show the customer is for outdoor coverage.

    We can’t talk phones because we don’t have them. When we do get something cool we screw it up with bad messages ( remember Jimmy for @ Home ?) or don’t advertise it at all.

    Ex VP Sue Nokes told me that we would never be a device driven carrier. Our customer service will be our calling card.

    Here is your card…..4th place and falling.

    • shakarak

      Churn dropped for postpaid last customer to 2.1 % :D

  • Bill

    tmo has NO BRAND RECOGNITION!! you guys dont realize that the general public doesnt care about cell phones as much as we do. I would go as far as saying maybe 5-10% actually know as much as we do. the rest “general public” either want the “cheapest” or the “staple phone (blackberry, iphone, droid, palm, etc.) i worked for tmo for 5 years and left recently now i work for another carrier. the way tmo runs their business is a joke and anyone that works for them will tell you that (ie. ace) heres my breakdown. att has been around for 100 years regardless of what people say, they are trusted among the general public. verizon is the nice old lady in the neighborhood. people like verizon the trust that red V. the general public if they were solely thinking “i want a new cell carrier” are instinctively going to choose either att or verizon. it is fact. sprint no matter what the numbers show have a great network. they were extremely popular meaning nextel for their extremely popular walkie talkie service and their convincing commercials back in the day and sprint was almost as popular as verizon if not more back in the day with their candice bergen pin drop commericials. tmo has nothing. no identity. no true gameplan. they flow with the times and show an extreme lack of confidence in everything they do. (ie @home service, hotspot calling, g1, photo frame etc.) the list goes on. if they have no confidence or backbone in what they do, how will the general public trust them? i understand companies must change in order to grow but you must see what i am saying. anyone that works or has worked for the company will tell you these guys that make the decisions dont know what the hell they are doing. sometimes you have to stick to the game plan and not let up. so YES to marketing, no to devices but a strong YES to brand recognition. every person in the general public will tell you “tmobile has crappy service” i have had customers ask me “who is tmobile?” i am NOT making this stuff up. tmo stick to the gameplan, show restraint and patience in your product IT IS a good product, now you have to convince the general public of that.

    • rushmore

      No offense Bill, but you sound like a Sprint exec giving bad advice to their nearest competitor ;)

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Excellent post Bill. And add “MyFaves” to the list. Didn’t T-Mobile drop that too?

      And I went to T-Mobile’s forum. Interesting posts in there, that are in comport with my complaints about dismal customer service.

      You are right, T-Mobile has no signature identity. The closest they came was when Catherine Zeta-Jones was the spokesperson. Everyone knew T-Mobile back then.

  • ace

    I agree.

    How many #1 priorities do we have? How many add-ons do we push down the customers throat ( data, messaging,insurance, VPC…etc)? I understand that these are HUGE profit makers but people have been let go for not making quota on these items. EVERYONE should be held accountable for lack of results. I hope we don’t have the same Marketing VP !!!

    Management from Vice Presidents down to store managers have been let go due to lack of results. Sales reps get tossed for bad numbers.

    The only thing that stays the same is the CEO.

    You can’t keep firing the players, maybe it’s the coach.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Well, those in here who say I can take my complaints about customer service and leave, OK, we will.

    I will most likely take our two accounts and go to Boost Mobile prepaid. Yeah, it’s a Sprint subsidiary, but I can accept that since it’s prepay.

    While we won’t have the latest and greatest phones, we can live with the BlackBerry Curve.

    And they provide unlimited web, talk, text for $50 monthly.

    Mark my words, prepay is the way of the future. No contracts, no hassles if one wants to switch carriers (due to poor customer service) and prices are getting very low. T-Mobile knows this, that’s why they are going to start promoting prepaid accounts.

    Only downside, I won’t be on T-Mobile’s troublemaker list. Oh wait, that’s a good thing. :)

    • shakarak

      With boost the blackberry unlimited is $60. also consider your getting a 4 year old phone for $250.00 spread that across 12 bills because thats how often you can upgrad with T-Mobile and savings are not that relevant. Being on prepaid means you get turned on within a day or 2 of being late and try to see if tenure gets you anywhere in the long run.

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        You are correct, but the unlimited web, talk, text is $50, like I said. The BlackBerry unlimited plan is $10 more a month.

        And yes, the Curve is the exact model like I had back in 2007-2008. I am not saying that’s a great phone (especially since I had the BlackBerry 9700, G1, Touch Pro2 and HD2), but it was once upon a time a nice BlackBerry. I mentioned it to illustrate how the prepaid phones are getting better.

        And for sure they will get better phones as time goes on and prepaid becomes big. They have to get nice phones to attract the non-deadbeat customers. Before prepaid got only deadbeats and they could not be picky on phone offerings.

        Now that the stigma of prepaid no longer exists the carriers have an incentive to come out with nicer phones (to get more people to sign up).

        I don’t know what you mean about being “turned away.” With prepaid if you don’t pay the phone stops working. Pay online, for example, it starts working again. While I like anyone else enjoys the few weeks float on paying a T-Mobile bill, the float is not worth that much to me. I’d rather be “motivated” to pay the bill on time.

        As to tenure, that’s a laugh. I have been with T-Mobile since 2004-05. Paid them at least $20,000. If you accept that this is “tenure” what did I get for that:

        Customer Service – When I call I am on hold for 15 minutes now. Some CSRs are rude and condescending. So tenure seems to mean I get treated worse. Of course we know what really happened, as Nik said (see above) I have been put on a TTL. (T-Mobile Troublemaker List.)

        Plan Pricing: Tenure sure didn’t get me any price breaks. With the changes T-Mobile made in pricing I was paying MORE with my Loyalty Pricing than I was when I switched to a new customer Even More Plus plan.

        When I made that switch my bill went down by $220 per year. And I was the one who figured out all this and called to make the change. (Correction, TMoNews members posted the info and that’s what led me to check into changing plans.)

        So tell me, what was my T-Mobile tenure supposed to get me?

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Well I have to thank those in here who said if I don’t like T-Mobile I should just leave.

    Just spent an hour with Sprint and discussed their new attitude, the apology commercials and other stuff. I said I am willing to accept the CEO’s apology and come back. I asked what deal they can give me and here is what I got. So it’s see you later T-Mobile (since the Evo is not out until June 4, I will be a T-Mobile customer until June 23.)

    Two FREE Evo phones – With a bonus for switching from T-Mobile and new custo rebates (even though I was with Sprint in 2004, he said it’s better to say I am a new custo to get all the rebates) and other promos, the two phones get down to zero on a two year contract.

    Two lines, 1500 minutes talk, unlimited 4G data (4G is apparently an additional $10 more for each Evo) – So with 4G added in it’s now $150 for both lines.

    He emphasized that the 1500 minutes applies ONLY to land line calls since the plan has FREE wireless to wireless calls (any carrier, not just Sprint). So I can handle it not being unlimited talking since most calls are now wireless to wireless.

    Custo Service – I explained the problems I was having at T-Mobile and also my bad history with Sprint in 2004. He said that Sprint is sorry and they have implemented a new system where a caller’s file cannot be closed until the CSR leaves detailed notes on why someone called. So there’s no more of this “We don’t have a record of the other CSR saying that to you sir.” And if someone enters a single word to signify a note being entered, so to get out of the customer’s file, the employee will be disciplined.

    So thanks people for all the flaming of my posts and telling me to get out if I don’t like it. You made me a happy camper.

    I have to go list my HD2 on eBay (nope, it will not be a fire sale so don’t ask me the price, expecting to pay $200 for it.) LOL. I’ll be listing it for about $390.

    (Now I have to switch to hoping Sprint does not go under. LOL.)

    • mad dog

      So hopefully this will be your last post. Good riddance to you and your annoying links.

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        Ah… you have improved your grammar and spelling. Congratulations. It’s good that you could see past your envy and learn from my criticisms of your earlier posts, when I told you to learn how to write and spell.

        As for my links annoying you, too bad you can’t grow a pair and not let something as insignificant as links annoy you.

    • rushmore

      What good is 4G, unless you live in the very small areas it actually works? Sprint will mainly be a slower 1X speed range. VZW letes them use the towers, but not the 3G or higher.

    • bill bo baggins

      Why do you even bother with the CSR’s over the phone? With all of the customer focused training the in store reps go through you should have a wonderful experience. i have first hand knowledge of how many man hours a in store rep spends on customer service training, product training ans sales and it will astound you. I also have perspective on your issues with the phone CSR’s, there are issues, but letting this get you riled up and putting you in to a fit of rage? for what? I challenge you to go to a corporate owned store, present your case to the store manager and they are empowered to help you; in my opinion, saving you and keeping you happy is much cheaper than letting you leave…

  • Wilco

    Here’s what I think T-Mo should do.

    1. Focus on branding and brand distinction. Sure, Blackberry and even iPhone are good brands, but are not distinct (assuming iPhone actually came to the 4th place carrier). T-Mo brands should be MyTouch and Sidekick and MyFaves. Likely a few others. Don’t throw those brands away. They need a third brand other than Android oriented. Gravitate all toward T-Mo uniqueness. Instead of throwing away MyFaves, figure out the technical fixes to prevent hacking the program for free calls. Expand MyFaves.

    2. Product levels. Provide a top-tier, a professional tier, and a youth or intro tier for their various brands. MyTouch top could be something like an Evo. Pro tier could be Slide, but with software oriented to business and finance. They have the intro tier plenty covered.

    3. Unique technology. The Android ship has sailed, and T-Mo pissed away the opportunity to be THE Android shop. T-Mo should have offered every decent Android offering out there, but instead, they went for MyTouch 3G 1.2 and Behold 2. Unbelievable. Now T-Mo should go hard after UMA and tethering. Something.

    4. Change their marketing campaigns to be more business and professional oriented. Hire a sales fleet that goes after corporate accounts. How come every company I’ve worked for in the last 15 years has all offered AT&T Wireless discounts, but not one offered T-Mo?

    Just a few random thoughts.