I wish carriers put as much time in planning their future, launching new services and creating new business models as they do in rejiggering current service plans and forming bundles. T-Mobile USA, perhaps a carrier with a very short future due to the proposed AT&T acquisition is the latest to go down this route. T-Mobile actually has launched some differentiated enterprise wireless services in the past including its voice-over-WLAN service, but lately has not offered much but lower pricing. I always considered T-Mobile USA the “low-cost” (read: cheapest) provider because it routinely offered lowest cost voice and data services. And was proud of it. Unfortunately this is not a successful path to go and it is looking at new ownership.
But T-Mobile USA is now changing its strategy, following Sprint Nextel and its “Simply Everything” down the “high-value, low cost” path by bundling everything and the kitchen sink into a high-end, unlimited voice and data plan. This plan would cost more than 6x what the average T-Mobile USA user spends today (which was $12.80 as of Q4 2010), and about 10% more than the average business user. It has a high value because the unlimited plan ensures a consistent spend and costs less than the sum of its parts. Sprint Nextel has seen some success going down this path, with the majority of its postpaid users are in these plans. But customers going to T-Mobile are not looking to spend more. Instead of trying to add more plans to an already confusing menu, I’d like to see a bigger focus on innovative development and services built around mobility. If that happened, then you could almost charge whatever you want.