A Business Technology Place

TMobile – Bold and Driven

Disclosure: I am an active TMobile subscriber.

A bold and driven business leader.

Are you keeping track of movements in the mobile phone industry in the United States? In the two most recent reporting quarters TMobile, once headed for the history books, reported  subscriber growth in half million chunks. While not profitable in the most recent quarter, the company reported a nine percent growth in revenue. It seems likely that the growth in revenue will lead to profitability and investors have responded by driving up the stock price. Yes, this is the same TMobile that Deutsche Telekom wanted to sell. It’s the same TMobile that AT&T was ready to buy but denied by the government.

Enter John J. Legere as Chief Executive Officer. James Stewart of the New York Times calls him brash and disruptive. I see Mr. Legere’s actions as bold and driven. You have to admire someone that is willing to forge a different path in an industry that strives on sameness.  He punted the two year contract, the cash cow of the mobile phone industry. He’s also recently setup free international text/data and wireless data for tablets. Customer friendly? Yes.  Profit friendly? Yes, if his gamble drives enough new subscribers and revenue.

Simplification

What I like most about Mr. Legere’s plan is the simplification to consumers. Who enjoys sorting through multiple plans with minutes, data limits, text limits, and contracts? The new TMobile no contract plan is easy to understand and makes basic cell and data services affordable. Consumers have responded favorably and TMobile is adding many new subscribers.

The last frontier.

I think the last frontier now for Mr. Leger to conquer is that of reliability and service.  TMobile has made improvements to its mobile network infrastructure. But the coverage maps are still lacking compared to some of the other competitors. This may be the hardest battle of all for Mr. Leger. It will require investment. But he’s off to a good start. Maybe he’ll find a way to disrupt the service once again.  Competition is fun to watch and will benefit all consumers in the long run.

An open letter to wireless phone providers

Dear Wireless Phone Provider,

I’ve been a customer of yours for many years.  Month after month I pay a monthly installment to you in exchange for a service that I value and regularly use.  I’ve recently added a family member and at some point will add another one.  I have no complaints about the service you’ve provided to me.  I have service when I need it and wherever I go.  But there are a few things that bother me that you should know about.  Our relationship is good, but here’s how it could be better:

  • Don’t make me sign a two year contract if I need to adjust to my terms of service with you. Sometimes family circumstances change or my needs may change.  I should be able to choose from your diverse service offering without being chained to a commitment.  Especially since I’ve already been your customer for more than five years.  Shouldn’t you earn my continued business by providing a valued service?
  • Offer your best terms of service to those customers who have been the most loyal and not those that are not even customers.  Does it seem backwards to you that the terms of service to your most loyal customers are not the best you have to offer? How do you encourage loyalty and retention?
  • Find ways to make data plans and voice plans part of a packaged unit that are affordable for families.  Not everyone has access to a Corporate provided Blackberry at some bloated data and voice rate.  Data to a mobile device is becoming more relevant in society everyday.  New devices and software programs are being introduced to the mobile environment every week.  Take advantage of this and make that service affordable to the masses.

These ideas just seem to be common sense to me. You’ll certainly earn the respect of consumers and increase your reputation if you made some of these changes.   I think it’s a safe bet to think that customer loyalty and retention would increase and as a result profits as well.

Sincerely,

Your customer