How do you put your company in the best possible position to grow when you’ve seemingly squeezed customers as much as they can possibly be squeezed? Squeeze them some more. As smartphone sales begin to peak and service revenue growth slows among top U.S. carriers, these giants have no choice but to look elsewhere for growth. In some cases, they’ll turn to fees. AT&T, for example, recently found a way to milk subscribers for an extra $500 million each year by adding a $0.61 “administrative fee” to every bill. As we have previously noted, consumers should expect to see more tiny fees pile up in the coming months and years. Now, carriers have found some new tricks to bolster revenue growth by promoting handset trade-in programs and by convincing users to upgrade their devices more frequently. More →
I’ve been somewhat skeptical about T-Mobile’s UNcarrier initiative for a while but I really started to warm up to it Wednesday when it announced its JUMP program. Yes, part of the fun was seeing T-Mobile chief John Legere reprise his role as circus-clown CEO, as he spent a lot of time talking to dolls while trash-talking AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. But the substance of T-Mobile’s plan is genuinely a good deal for people who want to upgrade their devices every year or so. For $10 a month, you can upgrade your smartphone once every six months for any reason, whether your phone is broken, whether it’s buggy or whether you just don’t like it anymore. Even better, when you upgrade to a new device, T-Mobile wipes out the remaining balance that you have on the last device you bought through the carrier. More →
T-Mobile executives engaged in some chest-beating on Wednesday when they announced that they’ve now launched LTE services in 116 metropolitan areas in the United States, including 73 out of the top 100 metro areas in the country. The company took particular joy in bashing rival Sprint, which T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray mocked for purportedly only having LTE services running in 22 of the top 100 U.S. markets. T-Mobile CEO John Legere also got in on the fun and said that “Sprint has missed every possible deadline” while deploying its LTE services. T-Mobile’s network now covers approximately 157 million PoPs in the U.S. and the company easily beat its own goal for covering 100 million U.S. PoPs by the start of July.
T-Mobile on Wednesday announced that Nokia’s Lumia 925 will arrive on its network next week. The smartphone is equipped with a 4.5-inch, 1280 x 720-pixel display, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor and an 8-megapixel PureView rear camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. It also includes 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a non-removable 2,000 mAh battery and Windows Phone 8. T-Mobile is offering the Lumia 925 with a down payment of $49.99 and payments of $20 a month for 24 months. The Lumia 925 will be available in stores and online on July 17th.
It wasn’t the big news from the carrier’s press conference on Wednesday, but T-Mobile confirmed that it will exclusively offer Sony’s Xperia Z smartphone in the United States. Beginning immediately, T-Mobile subscribers will be the first in the U.S. to gain access to Sony’s sleek, water-resistant smartphone starting at $0 down with 24 monthly payments of $25 from all Sony Stores nationwide and online from Sony’s website. Other purchasing options include a $99.99 up-front payment followed by 24 monthly payments of $20, or an outright purchase for $579.99. T-Mobile will then make the Xperia Z available for preorder from its own website beginning July 16th, and the handset will be available for purchase in T-Mobile stores and on T-Mobile’s website beginning July 17th. The Xperia Z features a 5-inch full HD display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 13-megapixel camera, Android Jelly Bean and a case that is just 7.9 millimeters thick.
T-Mobile on Wednesday unveiled a bold new plan as it continues to seek out creative ways to differentiate itself from larger rivals Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint. In line with reports that emerged earlier in the day, T-Mobile unveiled its new “JUMP” (Just Upgrade My Phone) initiative during a press conference in New York City. The new plan allows subscribers who pay an extra $10 per month to trade in their devices and upgrade to a new smartphone or feature phone up to twice per year for the same cost a new subscriber would pay. By contrast, carriers such as AT&T and Verizon only allow subscribers on contract to upgrade to a new device every 24 months, unless they wish to pay full price for their new handsets. More →
A new report suggests that T-Mobile is preparing to announce a new plan that will allow customers to upgrade their smartphones at any time. The new plan, called “Jump,” will reportedly let customers “upgrade when [they] actually want to” and as often as they like for the same price as a new customers, The Verge reports. An earlier report from TmoNews claimed that the company will require subscribers to trade in their current smartphones to qualify for each upgrade, and they will also apparently have to pay monthly “membership fee.” The program is different from anything else in the industry today. Verizon and AT&T recently changed their upgrade policies, forcing customers to wait a full 24 months before upgrading to new devices. T-Mobile is expected to announce the new Jump plan at a press conference in New York City on Wednesday.
In the wake of SoftBank’s acquisition of Sprint and T-Mobile’s merger with MetroPCS, analysts believe other smaller carriers will also be takeover targets. Kevin Smithen of Macquarie Capital, per Investor’s Business Daily, upgraded Leap Wireless last week to a neutral rating from underperform on speculation that T-Mobile or Dish may be looking to acquire the carrier. The analyst noted that T-Mobile’s higher share price could be appealing for a potential stock deal, adding that Leap wouldn’t settle for anything less than $10 per share. He noted that the carrier could be pressured to sell at a lower price though, because T-Mobile will be entering more of Leap’s markets in the second half of the year. Smithen thinks this could “put further pressure on Leap’s already eroding operating business.” He also believes the carrier could be on Dish’s radar following the company’s failed acquisitions of both Sprint and Clearwire.
According to a report from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel, smartphone sales in the U.S. have remained stable over the three-month period ending in May. The firm noted that strong iPhone sales from T-Mobile helped Apple’s market share jump 3.5% between March and May, and the iPhone now accounts for 41.9% of smartphone sales in America. The mobile market duopoly continued as Android accounted for 52% of sales, up 0.1% year-over-year. Sales of Windows Phone devices saw little growth, increasingly a mere 0.9% year-over-year for a 4.6% market share in the No.3 spot. More →
T-Mobile’s new UNcarrier intuitive may already be paying off. Analysts forecast that the carrier will soon record its first postpaid subscriber gain in more than four years. Macquarie Capital estimates that T-Mobile will add 98,000 postpaid customers in the second quarter, compared to having lost 557,000 subscribers in the same quarter in 2012. Barclays is a little more conservative with its estimates, projecting the carrier will add 50,000 postpaid customers. Roger Entner of Recon Analytics, per Investors.com, noted that a majority of T-Mobile’s success can be attributed to the iPhone, on top of the carrier’s unique payment plans. More →
Exciting news for anyone who likes hearing expletive-laden tirades against AT&T: Another one is likely to happen on July 10th. T-Mobile has scheduled a press conference for July 10th in New York where it promises to unveil its “boldest moves yet.” At T-Mobile’s first “UNcarrier” event this past spring, the carrier announced it was ditching two-year service agreements and unveiled a clever new pricing strategy that lets subscribers pay $99 down for premium smartphones with subsequent monthly payments for two years to make up the balance. T-Mobile CEO John Legere also called AT&T’s pricing policies “the biggest crock of s— I’ve ever heard in my entire life” and generously sprinkled profanity throughout his presentation.
Dave Mayo, the senior vice president of technology, strategy, finance and development at T-Mobile, revealed at Light Reading’s Backhaul Strategies for Mobile Operators event on Tuesday that T-Mobile plans to bring LTE-Advanced features to its 4G LTE network before the end of the year. The executive didn’t go into specifics, however Dan Jones of Light Reading speculates that T-Mobile will adopt a technique known as carrier aggregation that combines two or more separate radio channels to improve data speeds. Mayo noted that for now the company continues to be focused on upgrading its older network with LTE coverage, adding that T-Mobile is currently “upgrading about 37,000 of our 52,000 cell sites.”
T-Mobile on Tuesday announced the upcoming availability of Sony’s flagship Xperia Z smartphone. The handset is equipped with 5-inch full HD 1080p display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 13-megapixel rear camera. The Xperia Z is also water and dust resistant, and includes 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The smartphone will be available from T-Mobile “in the coming weeks.” The carrier’s press release follows below. More →