T-Mobile Opens Up (a Bit) About Its B2B Plans

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • T-Mobile held an analyst briefing on August 14 to discuss its plans for T-Mobile for Business, which included its aims to engage SMBs, the public sector, large enterprises, and MNCs with a newly merged T-Mobile-former Sprint organization and a newly minted set of wireline and wireless network assets.
  • The meeting introduced the new B2B team, which draws from both companies, but the call focused more on the breadth and performance of the new T-Mobile’s 5G network and on ‘Un-carrier’’ benefits of transparency, lack of complexity, and cost avoidance than it did on actual enterprise offerings, leaving us hoping for more insights in the future.

It is understandable that T-Mobile is proud of its new network, which provides 14x more capacity than each operator had prior to the merger, as well as complementary network assets with which it is hoping to realize $43 billion in synergies. T-Mobile now has a 5G network that covers 250+ million people, and once its integration with Sprint’s 2.5GHz assets is complete, it can also compete well on other factors such as speed and latency. It also finally has a wireline network – to be run by former Sprint executive Mike Fitz – so, in theory, it will be able to offer more of a converged network portfolio to companies that want end-to-end network capabilities. T-Mobile loves to compare its new network to that of its rivals, noting that it has twice the spectrum of AT&T and three times the spectrum of Verizon. It points out that Verizon’s 5G footprint is still only in 35 cities, where it is using expensive mmWave spectrum, which does not provide expanded coverage benefits and which will require Verizon to use technologies such as DSS to enable it to share 4G and 5G spectrum to broaden its reach.

However, T-Mobile acknowledges that AT&T and Verizon have 90% of the U.S. enterprise network services market; needless to say, it plans on aggressively moving to unseat its two rivals. The main tenets of its strategy to win in the B2B market include its network, its simplicity, and its value. The latter two tenets remain the ‘traditional’ T-Mobile Un-carrier capabilities that it has always offered: providing single-price, unlimited services; transparent competitive pricing; buyout of competitive ETFs and device contracts; grandfathered rates, free e-mail, and service bundles; device leasing; and free global roaming in 210 countries. T-Mobile also claims to have superior customer support, allowing customers to test drive the network before the sale and offering operational support for switching business customers over to its network. It also touts its post-sales support, quick problem resolution, and its ‘Team of Experts’ dedicated to business customers, which provides business customers with the same support person for ongoing customer care.

Analysts understand that there will be a growing set of businesses of all sizes that will appreciate T-Mobile’s value proposition, its pricing transparency, and its philosophy to provide low-cost, all-in-one solutions. Businesses will also appreciate its 5G network performance (once integration is complete) and its far-reaching coverage. However, what analysts were missing in this briefing were any of the details of T-Mobile’s new enterprise services portfolio.

In the long run, all three of the U.S. operators will have reached some level of network parity for 5G. But AT&T and Verizon have years of experience serving thousands of enterprises and go way beyond connectivity to court them. The two rivals offer diverse portfolios from advisory and integration to managed services, mobile device management, telecom expense management, application enablement, managed security, and the design and delivery of custom mobile and IoT applications (and that’s just on the mobility side). They also offer private wireless networks with prioritization and pre-emption, as well as the support and management of millions of connected IoT devices across wide-ranging verticals that are supported by vertical overlay organizations. Both operators are in the process of leveraging edge technology to enhance the latency and amp up innovative use cases for their 5G networks. While we are excited for T-Mobile because it can finally compete on its network, we are hoping to hear much more from the Un-carrier about its value-added services portfolio for businesses. It may choose to take on some of Sprint’s legacy business offerings, which included managed mobile and wireline security, Ethernet services, AI-enabled messaging, unified communications, and the Sprint IoT Factory, with kits for hundreds of out-of-the-box IoT use cases. It is time for T-Mobile to take its business messaging to the next level to compete effectively against its top two rivals.

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