How T-Mobile Keeps Shaking Up the Wireless Market

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-06-23 Print this article Print

T-Mobile has become a major pain in the neck for much larger carriers, such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T. T-Mobile CEO John Legere keeps making statements and introducing programs aimed at making competitors look bad while making T-Mobile look like the consumer's best friend. His goal is to convince those consumers that T-Mobile will ultimately deliver the experience that people want. It's hard to argue with T-Mobile's tactics, since the carrier is scoring points with wireless customers. During its last reported quarter, T-Mobile added 2.4 million net new customers, more than all other major carriers combined. T-Mobile has also captured the attention of the news media with its bold pronouncements and its willingness to go against the grain in an industry that has historically shied away from creating a stir. It's an interesting move, if nothing else, and could very well become a major change agent in the marketplace if T-Mobile is able to continue it marketing campaign indefinitely. This slide show looks at how T-Mobile's various tactics have shaken up what had been a very predictable market.

  • How T-Mobile Keeps Shaking Up the Wireless Market

    By Don Reisinger
    How T-Mobile Keeps Shaking Up the Wireless Market
  • 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.
    iPhone Tryout Program Is T-Mobile's Latest Gambit
  • 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.
    It's Waging War on Overage Charges
  • 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.
    Blame It on the CEO
  • 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.
    It's Sticking With Unlimited Everything
  • 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.
    T-Mobile Relentlessly Bad-Mouths the Competition
  • 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.
    It's Trying to Prove It's the Consumer's Partner
  • 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.
    Operation Tablet Freedom Offers Customers Free Data for a Year
  • 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.
    The End of Two-Year Service Agreements Has Proved Popular
  • 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.
    Rhapsody UnRadio Offers Unlimited Music Streaming
  • 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.
    Bold Proclamations
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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