NEW YORK — John Legere means business.
The CEO of T-Mobile has been a disruptive force in the wireless industry the past two years, pushing such consumer-oriented “Un-Carrier” initiatives as eliminating onerous contracts and paying early-termination fees when folks switch to T-Mobile. The strategy has paid off. T-Mobile has gone from 33 million to 55 million customers during that span.
Now Legere is training his company’s sites on the business market, where T-Mobile has been a distant also-ran, with only 3% to 5% of the $83 billion in wireless revenue that the major U.S. carriers collectively received from business accounts. Verizon and AT&T account for $72 billion. Sprint, $10 billion.
“It’s a gigantic opportunity (for us),” Legere said in an interview.
On Wednesday, T-Mobile unveiled the new plans that it hopes will start to alter its standing in the business market. “We are going to do for businesses what we’ve already been doing for consumers,” Legere says. “Eliminate pain points and force change.”
FOCUS ON SMALLER FIRMS
According to T-Mobile, the vast majority of U.S. businesses – a full 99.7% – have fewer than 500 employees and don’t have the money or resources to negotiate and decipher wireless carriers’ pricing, still too often a “haggling back room hidden rate card” kind of experience. “This was created for the mega-companies,” Legere says.
T-Mobile’s answer is a flexible rate plan for businesses that starts at 10 lines for $160. Each additional line up to 20 costs $16. The price drops to $15 per line from there on up to 1,000 lines. Companies that require even more pay $10 per line. There is no haggling.
Each line comes with unlimited talk, text and up to 1 GB of data high-speed 4G LTE data. An extra 2GB of high-speed data costs $10 per line, unlimited high-speed data $30 per line.
T-Mobile is offering pooled high-speed data options as well, starting at $475 per month for 100GB.
Meantime, businesses that sign up for at least one line with additional paid data get a free “.com” domain and website from GoDaddy. Such businesses also get a free custom .com e-mail address for their company, powered by Microsoft Office 365. The offer includes one free business e-mail address for every T-Mobile business line with additional paid data.
T-Mobile is also heavily discounting prices for people who combine their personal plan with a business plan paid for by their company – 72% of customers use the same carrier at home that they use at work. The business-paid line is treated as the first line in the family plan. Legere claims that can save customers up to 50%, compared to the “measly 8 to 15% discount” you get from rivals when business and personal plans are combined.
One of the reasons that T-Mobile hasn’t done well with the business crowd has been a perception that its network didn’t live up to the standards of rivals, especially outside metropolitan areas. Legere claims such a view is longer valid.
“The feedback we’re getting is, ‘are you “bleeping” me’ — I can’t believe the speeds are that fast,” Legere says.”We’re no longer defensive about network.” He cited a recent study that said that T-Mobile’s LTE is 52% faster than Verizon.
T-Mobile will be in markets covering 300 million people for high-speed LTE by year end, up from 270 million.
“T-Mobile’s new business offerings should be very popular with smaller businesses, which buy services very much like consumers, with the buyers being office managers or business owners rather than professional IT directors,” Jackdaw analyst Jan Dawson says.
“However, for larger businesses, rate plans are just part of the picture, and other features like mobile device management, other communications and productivity applications and wireline services will be part of the picture too, and T-Mobile can’t address any of those today,” he said.
WILL COVER PAYMENTS UP TO $650
While focusing on business with today’s announcements, T-Mobile didn’t totally ignore the consumer. T-Mobile unleashed what it calls the “un-contract,” in which it guarantees that the rates people are paying under their current plan will never go up – and could go down – so long as those people remain customers. That’s the case even if the plan was under a promotion that had been set to expire. “If you’re on a promotion, it just changed to permanent,” Legere says.
Pricing for unlimited data plans will not change for at least two years.
Moreover, T-Mobile says it will now cover the remaining payments on a smartphone or tablet due to AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, for those who switch to T-Mobile, up to $650 per line. Legere says 29 million people are currently stuck on device payment plans. Until now, only early-termination fees were covered.
Customers who want to take advantage of the plan must trade in their phone to T-Mobile and buy a new device.
Email: email@example.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Powered by WPeMatico