All T-Mobile needs now is broader network coverage

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: April 12, 2013

 

In another attempt to get customers to flock to T-Mobile’s doors, the carrier that was once the only carrier out of the major four to not (officially) carry the Apple iPhone officially began selling the popular brand of smartphones today – and reportedly had a huge success. News has been big surrounding T-Mobile and the changes they’re making to the company lately, and while all is going smoothly on the surface the issue still remains that many people still live in areas that don’t get the right kind of coverage for the data speeds they want.

The “Uncarrier” thing that T-Mobile has started is, for lack of better term, phenomenal. They took everything that we expected in a wireless carrier and flipped it around on us for the better. They have given us the option to pay for our phone outright or in installment plans. When it seemed like all might have been lost for T-Mobile, who was rumored to be bought out by AT&T not too long ago, they didn’t leave everything unchanged and kept going about business as usual. They stepped up and listened to what the people did and didn’t want in a carrier.

However, a crippling factor when it comes to T-Mobile rested on the fact that when every other major wireless carrier was offering the Apple iPhone T-Mobile was always left out of the equation. Walk into a T-Mobile store and talk to a representative; they’ll tell you all day long how great their BlackBerrys and Android devices are.

“Do you carry the iPhone?”

“Did I mention we have Android devices?”

As much as I complain that iOS needs to see change the iPhone is still one of the most identifiable and desirable phones on the market today. Despite that it might be falling, if the words of T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert regarding the size of the lines outside of T-Mobile stores today are true then the official arrival of the iPhone on T-Mobile’s market gives them two “X”s in a row and all they need is a third to win the game of carrier Tic-Tac-Toe.

So where do they plant that third “X”? Simply by making their network accessible to more people.

Throughout T-Mobile’s new rebranding strategy they have started a contentious rollout of LTE networks across the nation. While this is a good start, what would really help speed up the process would be the impending MetroPCS merger that may or may not happen. If T-Mobile can merge with Metro then T-Mobile will have a lot more room to wiggle when it comes to putting in new LTE markets for consumers. The faster they get this done the better because the constant argument I see being thrown at T-Mobile is customers not wanting to leave their current carrier due to lack of good coverage.  With most “big name” devices being released without carrier exclusives, having good coverage would essentially give T-Mobile everything it needs.

T-Mobile has already set the bar very high. If other carriers don’t react accordingly (as in, doing something – anything – to show that they still appreciate their customers despite locking them into contracts) then things could start to get sour with carriers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon – especially Verizon right now. Even if they don’t have any plans on getting rid of contracts (which is fine, they don’t have to) they still need to do something to say, “Hey, we might not do what they did, but we have something pretty cool to offer you guys instead.” Not everybody is on board with the whole no-contract thing – you still have to pay full price for a phone, after all. But in the end it is the more frugal route and people like to save money.

Honestly, I’m excited for T-Mobile. For so long they’ve been that carrier that people only used as a last resort most of the time. At least, that’s how they were viewed around where I live. Since they’re still last in the amount of subscribers they have (for now) I imagine Kansas City is not the only place where they were viewed as the “Anything but that!” carrier. They impress me more and more with all of the work I see being put into their entire rebranding, and it seems to be working out very well for them. As long as they continue to hone on their network coverage I foresee T-Mobile having some very good years ahead of them.

Readers! Now it’s your turn to speak. How do you feel about all the changes T-Mobile is going through? Have you already jumped to T-Mobile? For those who haven’t, is network coverage what is holding you back or is it something else? Give me a shout out in the comments below!