T-Mobile has some new European friends-and increased options for enterprise customers.
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.