It's time to step it up, other carriers

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 8, 2014

There are a total of four major carriers here in the United States. In the order of most to least amounts of subscribers, you have: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. You would think that with so many subscribers, Verizon would be the company that people are raving about here. However, as it turns out, you're going to be looking at the last company on that list to find the real company people are happy to talk about these days. That's right - the company with the least amount of total subscribers has been making huge changes this past year alone, with more on the way this year as T-Mobile carries on with its "UNCarrier" initiative throughout 2014. 

While T-Mobile might have the least amount of subscribers, it may (or may not) be surprised to hear that T-Mobile actually surpassed Verizon in the total number of new subscribers added to their network in 2013. Verizon added 4.1 million new subscribers, while T-Mobile added 4.4 million. Although T-Mobile has been in bit of a downward slump the past several years, last year really put the spotlight on the carrier with boisterous and sometimes abrasive advertising for the drastic changes they would be making to their own policies. It would seem that these new strategies from T-Mobile are making people take notice and embrace the changes they are making.

T-Mobile has been a pleasurable subject to talk about for the past year, and I don't even use their network. While T-Mobile might not be known for having the best reception in the country, for just about everything else you can place your bet that T-Mobile is going to be a winner. Most of the good changes that you saw come from other carriers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon likely stemmed from an action that T-Mobile performed first. Earlier upgrades? T-Mobile did it first. ETF paid for? T-Mobile started it. It's hard not to be a part of the T-Mobile love train when you realize exactly what they have done for this industry in just one year. 

But as I mentioned before, there is still the issue of whether you actually get good reception with T-Mobile or not. If you do, there's probably not a whole lot of reasons not to at least consider the switch at this point. If you don't, well, then everything they offer is probably moot. For now, that is.

That's subject to change in the future, though. As technology continues to advance and new networks are created to replace the old ones, who knows how long this lack of reception compared to other carriers will really last? If and when that does happen, if the other carriers don't do something to show up T-Mobile's tactics soon we're potentially looking at a polar shift in the mobile world here. 

It's kind of like that story, The Tortise and the Hare. The hare was way, way ahead of the tortise in the race at first, then decides to nap when he realizes just how far ahead of the turtle he is. But as we all know, naps can be dangerous territory. While he naps that tortise just kept on trucking and eventually wins because the hare was asleep. You know the story, I'm sure. In this case, as you can imagine, T-Mobile is that tortise; they just keep trucking along with these new tactics as the other carriers sit rather comfortably with what they already have. After all, they're still better than T-Mobile at this point - what could possibly go wrong? But just because turtles are slow doesn't mean they don't still have their wits and tactics about them to survive.

Even if the threat of T-Mobile taking over anybody is far off, there's still the principle of the thing. Although I'm sure that T-Mobile is in it for the business and the money as much as any other corporation out there, they're still the only ones that make it seem like they give a damn about their customers. Everybody else, meanwhile, still gets to deal with blatantly money-hungry corporations that have no rhyme or reason to hide it right now. Perhaps what they don't realize is that although having service in more places at the cost of an arm and a leg every month is decent, we want a CEO that curses like a sailor, calls people out on their BS, thanks customers on the regular and betters the industry, too. I would even accept a mere "Who are you calling a cootie queen, you lint licker?" from somebody at this point.

In the end, my point here is that as much as I love to praise T-Mobile for what they've done, I would like to be able to praise other carriers as well. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has done some major bar-raising this past year and anything any other carriers are willing to do just seems mediocre in comparison. Give me something to work with, here.

Images via GeekWire, @evleaks