The seventh chapter of T-Mobile’s “Un-carrier” story is unfolding live right now in San Francisco, where CEO John Legere is hosting a press conference to discuss the carrier’s next big disruption. This time around, T-Mobile’s big announcement is a three-pronged attack on stragglers who still think its network is inferior and refuse to take an iPhone 5s for a free test drive. And in doing so, T-Mobile is once again offering its subscribers several benefits that rival carriers simply can’t match.
FROM EARLIER: The most important wireless carrier in America
The first big announcement from T-Mobile on Wednesday is that it’s taking the opportunity afforded by Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and running with it: Beginning immediately after the new iPhones are released next week, T-Mobile’s entire handset lineup will support WiFi calling and texting.
But that’s not the big news…
The big news here is that T-Mobile’s WiFi calling and texting features will work on any WiFi connection, anywhere in the world. As a result, all Simple Choice plan holders with T-Mobile phones will be able to make and receive phone calls, or send and receive text messages, from anywhere in the world as long as they’re connected to WiFi.
The carrier is also offering a one-time open enrollment period to all Jump customers so that they can trade in their old handsets and upgrade to a new compatible smartphone whether or not they are due for upgrades.
T-Mobile’s second big announcement is a clear effort to work past any real or perceived indoor coverage issues by offering subscribers a free WiFi cell tower of sorts that can be used in their homes or offices.
Dubbed the “T-Mobile Personal CellSpot,” the device is basically a WiFi router that can work alongside or in place of your existing router. The CellSpot will allow all devices to connect to it, but it will prioritize WiFi calling voice traffic in order to ensure that calls are always as clear as possible.
A free Personal CellSpot can be obtained from a T-Mobile store or by calling the carrier’s customer service department, and a refundable $25 hardware deposit will be required.
Last but certainly not least, T-Mobile announced a new agreement with Gogo to provide customers with free unlimited WiFi text and multimedia messaging while onboard a Gogo WiFi-equipped flight from a U.S.-based airline. U.S.-based Gogo WiFi partner airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
T-Mobile’s full press release follows below.
T-Mobile Launches Un-carrier 7.0 Un-leashes Wi-Fi Worldwide
Enables every T-Mobile customer and smartphone to call and text over any Wi-Fi connection for seamless coverage where no carrier network reaches – even at 30,000 feet
Unveils T-Mobile Personal CellSpot for personal coverage wherever customers choose
San Francisco, California – September 10, 2014 – Get ready for a whole new way to think about mobile coverage. T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) today rewrote the rules of wireless again with Un-carrier 7.0 “Wi-Fi Un-leashed,” breaking several major announcements that together deliver coverage where no cellular network has gone before.
With every major smartphone maker adopting it, Wi-Fi calling and texting has reached a tipping point, and T-Mobile is getting 100% behind it as only the Un-carrier can – to deliver unprecedented coverage to its customers to places where no cellular network can reach.
With Wi-Fi Un-leashed, T-Mobile announced that it’s lighting up Wi-Fi calling and texting for every Simple Choice customer on every new smartphone it sells. Now 100% of new smartphones in T-Mobile stores will be Wi-Fi calling and texting capable, and 100% of T-Mobile customers will be able to get a Wi-Fi calling and texting capable smartphone if they don’t already have one. To make it easier for customers to take advantage of these new capabilities, T-Mobile is opening an exclusive enrollment window in JUMP!, the Un-carrier’s revolutionary upgrade program, so customers can immediately upgrade to a new Wi-Fi calling ready smartphone.
“Wi-Fi Un-leashed is a game changer. This is like adding millions of towers to our network in a single day,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “The difference between us and the traditional carriers is that they’ll do everything they can to make more money off you. We’ll do everything we can to solve your problems, and today, that’s about uniting Wi-Fi with our data strong network for unprecedented coverage.”
In contrast to the carriers, who lock customers inside walled-off, proprietary networks to monetize them, T-Mobile has taken a typically disruptive Un-carrier approach with “Wi-Fi Un-leashed” by tapping every available technology to deliver coverage in places unreachable by any cellular network – and by making it incredibly simple. There’s no app to install or separate IDs to remember. Just use your phone.
In addition to enabling T-Mobile customers to use any public or private Wi-Fi connection they can access like a T-Mobile tower for calling and texting, the Un-carrier has rolled out next-generation Wi-Fi calling and texting on its network. This new technology is designed to deliver high-quality HD voice, fast call setup times, fewer dropped calls and seamless voice coverage between T-Mobile’s nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network and Wi-Fi with compatible smartphones.
With Wi-Fi Un-leashed, all T-Mobile customers can also make free Wi-Fi calls to the United States from anywhere outside the country – all using their existing T-Mobile number with no app to install and no additional IDs or numbers to manage – wherever they have Wi-Fi.
Full-Bars Personal Coverage Wherever You Choose
In a classic Un-carrier move, T-Mobile introduced another radically simple idea−give customers the power and freedom to personalize their coverage wherever they choose. The Un-carrier unveiled the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, a new device that enables everyone to put the capabilities of a personal T-Mobile tower in their house.
With 57% of American wireless users saying they often drop calls in and around their home, the Personal CellSpot delivers a full-bars T-Mobile experience − in your basement workshop, small business or anywhere else you have broadband – using state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology. What’s more, it can completely replace your existing Wi-Fi router or operate right alongside it. And, the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot comes with unique patent-pending technology that prioritizes voice calls for crystal clear HD voice.
Starting September 17th, every Simple Choice customer with a broadband connection and a Wi-Fi-calling ready smartphone can get a T-Mobile Personal CellSpot completely free of charge with a $25 refundable deposit. The only thing left to do is decide where you want your personal full-bars T-Mobile experience.
“For years, the big phone company utilities have told you where you can and can’t have coverage. And wherever their networks can’t reach, you’re SOL,” said Legere. “With T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, we’re putting an end to that old way of thinking. Now, you can decide wherever you want your own T-Mobile tower− giving you amazing full-bars experience where no carrier network has reached before.”
Coverage at 30,000 Feet
In a closely related move, T-Mobile extended “Wi-Fi Un-leashed” to the skies through an exclusive, new partnership with Gogo, the world’s leading in-flight connectivity service. Through the partnership, T-Mobile customers will be able to send and receive unlimited text and picture messages, and even get visual voicemail, on any Gogo-equipped flight on U.S.-based airlines – that’s more than 75% of domestic flights carrying close to 300 million people last year.
And again this new service is absolutely free to all customers of the Un-carrier. Starting September 17, just enable Gogo in-flight texting once, then you can message just about anyone from anywhere you’ve got Gogo. See www.t-mobile.com/gogophones for steps to enable Gogo in-flight texting and a list of compatible smartphones.