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T-Mobile To Gain Q4 Share, Says Strategy Analytics

T-Mobile will maintain its “Un-carrier momentum” and gain market share in the fourth quarter, thanks to a series of initiatives that include its Binge On service, Strategy Analytics contends.

“Through its Un-carrier initiative, including services like Music Freedom and now Binge On, T-Mobile is challenging its competitors by positioning itself as the most customer-friendly wireless operator in the U.S. market,” the research and consulting company said.

The strategies are “strengthening T-Mobile’s value proposition while challenging AT&T and Verizon Wireless to follow suit,” the company added.

Earlier this month, T-Mobile launched Uncarrier 10 initiatives, including an opt-in Binge On service that lets subscribers of many data plans stream DVD-quality video from 24 online streaming services without using up the data in their LTE data buckets. Resolution is lower than what the carrier normally offers, and the service uses proprietary technology that makes video streaming more bandwidth-efficient. The roster of included services will be expanded.

For streaming-video services not among the 24, subscribers will be able to fill their LTE data buckets with three times more video than before, thanks to the carrier’s video-optimization technologies.

In other Uncarrier initiatives, the carrier doubled the amount of LTE data that subscribers get from any existing plan at no extra charge. And for three months starting Dec. 1, the carrier is giving unlimited high-speed data to all postpaid Simple Choice customers.

The carrier also promised to deliver “special holiday gifts to Sprint, AT&T and Verizon customers” starting next week.

T-Mobile’s Music Freedom service, launched in June 2014, lets consumers stream unlimited amounts of music from select music services over the company’s LTE network. The program, available at no extra cost for Simple Choice plan subscribers, has expanded to include more than 30 services,

The Binge On service, however, is a more significant undertaking. “Video is one of the fastest growing mobile data consumption types,” said Strategy Analytics director Nitesh Patel. “With Binge On and its offer to double the LTE data allowance for Simple Choice customers, T-Mobile is removing consumers’ concern about blowing their data allowance or incurring competitors’ huge overage fees.”

He noted, however, that the absence for now of a few popular services from Binge On, particularly YouTube, “could be a disappointment, in particular for millennials who typically go on YouTube and social networks to catch the latest videos.” YouTube generates the largest amount of data traffic among all mobile applications, he said.

 T-Mobile’s network enhancements are a factor enabling the carrier to promote services such as Binge On, Strategy Analytics said. “Binge On is adding value for customers and creating the buzz to showcase the ‘data-strong’ network to retain T-Mobile’s current subscribers and attract new customers in the Q4 holiday shopping season,” said Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Strategy Analytics director of wireless operator strategies.

 “With Un-carrier, T-Mobile has consistently outperformed on phone net adds and has reduced its churn rate,” she added. “Un-carrier 10 is a bold step to expand the value proposition.”

T-Mobile “needs to get the word out that its LTE network is getting much closer to par with AT&T and Verizon Wireless with the vast improvements made over the past year,” she noted,  especially the large-scale buildout of LTE on its 700 MHz, Band 12 spectrum that increases indoor and suburban/rural coverage,” she added.