How T-Mobile Keeps Shaking Up the Wireless Market

How T-Mobile Keeps Shaking Up the Wireless Market
iPhone Tryout Program Is T-Mobile's Latest Gambit
It's Waging War on Overage Charges
Blame It on the CEO
It's Sticking With Unlimited Everything
T-Mobile Relentlessly Bad-Mouths the Competition
It's Trying to Prove It's the Consumer's Partner
Operation Tablet Freedom Offers Customers Free Data for a Year
The End of Two-Year Service Agreements Has Proved Popular
Rhapsody UnRadio Offers Unlimited Music Streaming
Bold Proclamations
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How T-Mobile Keeps Shaking Up the Wireless Market

By Don Reisinger

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iPhone Tryout Program Is T-Mobile's Latest Gambit

T-Mobile's most recent announcement is arguably one of its biggest. The company is giving customers the opportunity to take the iPhone 5S for a spin before they actually decide to buy it. If they like what they see, they can keep it and T-Mobile will charge their credit cards accordingly. If not, they can bring it back and perhaps choose another phone they like better. In any event, it's an opportunity to get more customers in the door.

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It's Waging War on Overage Charges

If there's one thing that T-Mobile believes it can win the PR war on, it's overage charges. The company earlier this year launched an outright war on overage charges, saying that it wanted to start the conversation in the wireless industry and get other companies to ban overages, even when users went over on data. Chances of that happening, however, seem slim.

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Blame It on the CEO

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is nothing if not a colorful character. At CES, he crashed AT&T's hospitality party and was promptly kicked out. He has consistently said that his competitors are bad for consumers and has ceaselessly described T-Mobile as the "uncarrier” that is going to bring real change to the wireless industry. If it's a dynamic leader T-Mobile is looking for, the company has one.

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It's Sticking With Unlimited Everything

T-Mobile arguably offers the best plans in the wireless industry. The company places no limits on minutes and text messages and still offers plans that deliver unlimited data. Granted, there are some plans that do limit data access, but considering most carriers are moving away from unlimited data, it's nice to see at least one major carrier embrace it.

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T-Mobile Relentlessly Bad-Mouths the Competition

In the past, wireless service providers rarely publicly voiced such a litany of complaints about their competitors that T-Mobile has voiced about its rivals. A quick glance at T-Mobile's blog shows several posts directly targeting AT&T, saying that the company is hurting consumers, damaging the wireless industry and more. Legere has even gone so far as to say that his competitors are effectively fleecing their customers.

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It's Trying to Prove It's the Consumer's Partner

T-Mobile is trying to position itself as the consumer's partner. T-Mobile keeps saying that its product lineup is better for consumers who don't want to be locked into contracts and that its innovations in service are unmatched in the marketplace. The entire T-Mobile Website is devoted to convincing people that it's the only wireless service provider that has consumers' best interest at heart. Whether the company really does remains to be seen.

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Operation Tablet Freedom Offers Customers Free Data for a Year

Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced a new program called Operation Tablet Freedom. Whenever customers buy a tablet at T-Mobile and put it on the company's network, they'll get free data service through the end of the year. After that, standard data rates will apply. Still, the fact that T-Mobile is wiling to give away free data on tablets is notable, if nothing else.

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The End of Two-Year Service Agreements Has Proved Popular

T-Mobile has banned the use of two-year agreements on consumer lines. So, unlike AT&T, Verizon and others that require users to sign two-year commitments to get discounted phone pricing, T-Mobile has tossed that out. That allows customers to freely move to and from T-Mobile's services whenever they'd like.

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Rhapsody UnRadio Offers Unlimited Music Streaming

T-Mobile recently announced a partnership with popular music-streaming service Rhapsody that it's calling Rhapsody UnRadio. The service will allow T-Mobile customers with unlimited data plans to stream as much music as they want for free. Customers who have limited data plans will need to pay $4 a month for the service. If UnRadio isn't what customers are after, the company announced that it would no longer count streaming music data against its customers cellular data limits. So, whether it's iTunes, Spotify or Slacker that users are listening to on T-Mobile's network, they won't get charged for using that data.

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Bold Proclamations

T-Mobile is the king of making bold proclamations. The company argues that it has the best wireless data network in the wireless industry, despite covering far fewer people. In addition, T-Mobile argues that it's the only "uncarrier" out there, not admitting that there are other smaller wireless carriers that offer service without contracts. Still, the bold proclamations are seemingly working. The 2.4 million net new customers it signed in the last quarter are evidence of that.

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