It’s no secret that carrier T-Mobile likes to shake things up. From its groundbreaking #uncarrier plan that took contracts out of the mobile phone equation to John Legere, the company’s notoriously outspoken CEO, this carrier is a wildcard in an industry where slow and steady usually wins the race. T-Mobile has made a habit of playing the hare to its competitors’ tortoises, and the strategy has worked. This year, it took its place as the third largest carrier in the US (according to its own numbers) over established player Sprint.
While big names like Verizon have focused on finding the shortest route into customers’ wallets, T-Mobile has made an art of finding the quickest way into people’s hearts. That has included uber responsive customer service, no-risk no-contract plans and upgrade packages that don’t require signing away your soul. T-Mobile offers free 4G LTE Data like it’s going out of style, and its most recent reveal – #MobileWithoutBorders – was custom designed to appeal to the majority of T-Mobile’s roamers.
Now the company is focusing on the gadget side of the carrier relationship, with a deal that undercuts Apple’s iPhone upgrade plan by about $250 over the life of the device. Just $24 per month gets you a brand new iPhone 6s Plus as part of the company’s JUMP! On Demand plan, which includes up to three upgrades per year.
If the idea of paying monthly installments for a device is making you scratch your head, you likely missed that there has been a shift away from direct device subsidies by carriers. Now you can buy or you can lease, and you can take advantage of some promotional pricing for pre-orders of up-and coming-devices like the iPhone 6s Plus, but either way you are paying for your phone so it pays to find the best deals.
Industry analyst Craig Moffett recently said that T-Mobile was the only carrier gaining market share, but has in the past referenced the anger expressed by those who believe the carrier is creating a customer culture where gimmicks and flashy deals are more important than solid service. But those customers? Don’t seem concerned. T-Mobile added 2.1 million customers in the second quarter of 2015 – the ninth consecutive quarter in which more than 1 million people embraced the self-styled Uncarrier.
It’s a fact that people like to upgrade, and why not draw people in with iPhone 6s deals? As easy as it is to switch to T-Mobile, the brand has also made it easy to leave for those who prefer the old customer/carrier relationship model. The secret of the company’s epically fast road to success could be that the deals are secondary to T-Mobile’s simple likeability. Its campaigns (and its CEO) are fun. On social media, T-Mobile kills it with party time imagery and youth culture references paired with responsive customer service happening in real time.
Is it a quirky approach to something – namely buying phones and figuring out carrier plans – that is usually about as exciting as setting up email notifications? Yes, but it looks like Moffett’s predictions about other carriers having to scramble to keep up with that approach are coming true. And when Apple itself is suddenly competing with the carrier for pre-orders, it’s clear that T-Mobile is a step ahead of the pack when it comes to luring in new customers using the iPhone 6s as bait. Chances are good that if you’re in the market for Apple’s latest gadget you are feeling just a little bit #UncarrierAmped right now.