T-Mobile Sees New iPhone as Switcher Bait
Even as its board ponders T-Mobile’s long-term fate, the company’s management has its eye on a near-term gold mine: The next iPhone.
Although executives insist they don’t have much insight into what Cupertino has in store, they believe it will be a tremendous opportunity to snatch customers from bigger rivals.
That’s because T-Mobile has the fewest iPhone customers of any of the big carriers, and customers often consider switching when they get their next phone, executives said.
“We have a lot to gain and little to lose,” Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said in an interview, following the company’s quarterly earnings report earlier on Thursday. “T-mobile is the brand people are switching to.”
T-Mobile added more than a million customers last quarter, though smartphone growth was somewhat slower than in the prior quarter. Sievert acknowledged that some customers appear to be waiting for upcoming devices, but said that he didn’t see a long-term stall in the market.
Instead, Sievert said T-Mobile is preparing for a world in which customers have not only more total devices, but even multiple phones. That means supporting the technology needed to allow calls to easily be shifted from one device to another.
“We think that is a serious opportunity,” Sievert said. “It’s what people want so we will develop it.”
T-Mobile launched a seven-day iPhone test drive with a goal of having a million people try out the device in the first year. Sievert said the company is getting good feedback and gaining a higher percentage of customers from the test drive than a typical store visit, but declined to say how many people have switched to T-Mobile as a result of the test drive.
And while tablet growth overall may be slowing, sales of models connected to a cellular network has grown for both T-Mobile and its rivals.
“I haven’t seen any saturation,” CEO John Legere told Re/code.