T-Mobile downplays unlimited data
With Verizon having the largest network, in relevance to coverages areas, and AT&T having the strongest network within their own coverage areas, Sprint and T-Mobile figured unlimited data was their main selling point. Yet, during an investor conference T-Mobile sought to shift the focus off unlimited data, suggesting they have other points of customer attraction besides shedding a fixed data transfer plan. Regardless, both T-Mobile and Sprint are for now sticking with offering unlimited data.
"We have unlimited, but it's part of a larger value proposition," Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said. "We have an unlimited offering, but it's not the reason for our being. A competitor bet the farm on unlimited, and that's all it is," he said, referring to Spring marketing unlimited data as their prime selling point. "We're not stuck....as the unlimited carrier. That's a bad place to be."
This comes a day after Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said that unlimited data plans were unsustainable. For the record, neither Verizon or AT&T offer unlimited data, not even if you were grandfathered in on an unlimited data plan from a previous carrier such as Alltel. While Spring has experienced a customer loss after the Nextel network shut down, T-Mobile is going strongly after unhappy AT&T customers.
T-Mobile is banking on these customers to bring their existing devices over to the T-Mobile network, a network that needs to expand if they truly want to compete. Yet, at the same time T-Mobile believes itself to be catalyst for change in the cellular industry. This change seems to be coming in the form of no longer relying on contracts to secure a customer base, but rather securing them through spot-on customer service and device plans. Not to mention the unlimited data.
Still, for all the juicing of customers that Verizon and AT&T do (such as the early upgrade nonsense which ends up costing people much more in product costs) T-Mobile still has not addressed the reach and size of their network. Perhaps, as T-Mobile alluded to in mentioning a larger 3rd carrier, they will merge with Sprint and create a network that will stand up to the likes of Verizon and AT&T. Until then, their selling point — whether they want it to be or not — is unlimited data.