T-Mobile is now the fifth carrier in the FreeMove Alliance, a group of otherwise European carriers supporting 400+ million business customers in a footprint of 59 countries.
T-Mobile has some new European friends-and increased options for enterprise
The FreeMove Alliance-a group comprising mobile carriers Deutsche Telekom,
Orange, TeliaSonera and Telecom Italia Group, and with a footprint of 59
countries and more than 404 million customers-announced that T-Mobile is
climbing on board, enabling the alliance to extend its offerings to customers
traveling in the United States.
In recent years, the alliance has seen an increase in requests for
international services, and it offers roaming voice and data support,
centralized services for fleet managers, VPN support, and centralized reports
that offer visibility into spending, Fabien Gustafsson, general manager of the
FreeMove Alliance, told eWEEK.
"It was important for us to have a strong partner in the U.S.,
and we will work together to respond to customers ... and offer consistent
services across the United States
and Europe," said Gustafsson, adding that T-Mobile
works on GSM-based technology, like its European counterparts, making it a good
fit. (Verizon and Sprint, conversely, are based on CDMA.)
In a Nov. 10 statement he added: "The addition of T-Mobile USA to the
FreeMove Alliance footprint will provide real value to businesses operating on
both sides of the Atlantic. FreeMove customers will
benefit from a dedicated global account management approach that includes
European and U.S.
sales resources, harmonized products and services beyond European borders, and
aligned sales, bid and implementation management."
Frank Sickinger, director of multinational corporations at T-Mobile USA,
said the move will enable T-Mobile to offer preferential pricing and services
to Alliance customers, whether they're in an Alliance country or not.
Unlike U.S. competitor AT&T-which recently purchased
assets from inCompass Wireless, in an effort to expand its
enterprise-mobility solutions and professional services expertise-T-Mobile,
Sickinger admits, tends to be perceived as a consumer-focused carrier.
"One of the areas that we see as a primary opportunity for growth is
the business space," Sickinger told eWEEK. And despite the perception, he
added, "we have millions of enterprise customers," including more
than 4 million customers connected to business or government contracts.
"It's very important that we capture more corporate market share, and
the FreeMove Alliance is a big part of that," he said.
Recent news that PC maker Dell plans to transition
its employees from BlackBerry handsets to Dell smartphones included mention
that Dell is in talks with T-Mobile about offering companywide support, instead
of individual user contracts.
Sickinger said he couldn't comment on the Dell situation, but added that
with enterprise customers, T-Mobile "looks at their total populations"
to find "the right kind of solution for as large a population as possible."
On Nov. 4 T-Mobile announced third-quarter service revenues of $4.71 billion
and the addition of 137,000 customers, bringing its total to 33.6 million. By
contrast, during the same quarter, Sprint
added 644,000 wireless subscribers, Verizon added 1 million and AT&T
added 2.6 million.
The day before, however, T-Mobile jumped ahead of its larger competitors,
deciding to call its HSPA+ service 4G and announcing that it now has the
nation's "largest 4G network"-another benefit as it grows its
reputation as an internationally minded, enterprise-geared operation.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.