Why is T-Mobile’s “Un-carrier” initiative working so well? The answer is as obvious as it seems: people don’t like wireless carriers. These telecommunications giants continue to squeeze subscribers for every last penny they can and all the while, they rake in billions upon billions of dollars each quarter. It would be one thing if a company just scraping by tacked on a tiny fee, but Verizon hauled in $7.9 billion in profit last quarter on $32.2 billion in sales while AT&T’s operating income climbed to $7.1 billion on revenue totaling $40.5 billion.
T-Mobile is hardly a non-profit, but the company has done a tremendous job of playing off consumers’ collective disdain for carriers and it has seen tremendous growth as a result. At the same time, its model really isn’t all that different from the rivals it regularly berates.
Can’t anyone save us from our carriers?
Every few years like clockwork, a new company comes along to save us from cell phone carriers. The most recent, as we’re sure you’ll all recall, was Google. The company’s “Google Fi” service uses a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi to offer dirt-cheap prices — unlimited voice and text messaging cost just $20 per month, and then Google charges $10 for every 2GB of data.
To sweeten the pot, Google never charges subscribers for unused data. Instead, people get credits each month on their next bill.
Then come the caveats. Chief among them are the fact that you can only use the service if you have a Nexus 6P or a Nexus 5X, and the fact that Google’s carrier partners on the cellular side of things are T-Mobile and Sprint. That’s fine if you live in some regions, but AT&T and Verizon still have far better nationwide coverage.
Fi wasn’t the answer people have been looking for, but there was still a glimmer of hope. Persistent rumors have claimed time and time again that Apple is working behind the scenes to launch its own wireless service, and it could potentially be just the innovation consumers are looking for.
Sadly, that isn’t going to happen.
Apple may or may not have investigated the possibility of launching its own wireless service in the past, but we now have definitive word from CEO Tim Cook that the company will not enter the wireless space. “Our expertise doesn’t extend to the network,” Cook said during an interview at Startup Fest Europe. “We’ve worked with AT&T in the US, O2 in the UK, as well as T-Mobile and Orange, and we expanded as we learned more. But generally, the things Apple likes to do, are things we can do globally.”
He went on, “We don’t have the network skill. We’ll do some things along the way with e-SIMs along the way, but in general, I like the things carriers do.”
The wait continues…