The past 16 months have been interesting for T-Mobile USA. The wireless industry has changed around them and they have fought back with deceptive advertising instead of improvements. In October of 2010, T-Mobile's USA Chief Network Officer Neville Ray said that 4G Networks weren't important, which has certainly explained the company's direction of the last year or so.
At the time, Sprint had launched its Clearwire-powered WiMax 4G service nationwide and Verizon was building out its own LTE network for a tiered launch starting just 2 months in the future. T-Mobile, on the other hand, had just launched its own 3G+ network, the same technology AT&T was running almost its entire network on and was looking to replace. How was T-Mobile, the smallest nationwide carrier, going to compete with the big boys who were all working to abandon the technology they had just switched to? By calling HSPA+ (3G+) 4G, of course. That decision, which helped them for a while, might turn out to be the biggest mistake the company has made to date.
How is this all going to work for T-Mobile USA? Hit the break to find out my thoughts.
With Thursday's announcement that T-Mobile will spend $4 billion to roll-out an LTE network, it has an uphill battle convincing customers that there is a reason to upgrade from 4G to 4G. Philipp Humm, CEO and President of T-Mobile USA, said,
We want to be known for delivering the best value in wireless because of the advanced technology we deliver at an affordable price... Over the next two years, we're prioritizing and investing in initiatives designed to get T-Mobile back to growth in the years ahead - beginning with the transformation of our network.
How do you get customers to care? It will be a bit of a slap in the face to customers who have bought T-Mobile's "4G" phones when T-Mobile starts advertising their new 4G network, won't it? How many of those customers are going to believe them this time around, when they find out they have been lied to once already? Their new store designs are not going to be enough to distract customers from the past year of marketing.
Will a T-Mobile LTE network be what it takes to get you to switch to T-Mobile? Let us know in the comments.