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August 21, 2014

T-Mobile Wants Customers to ‘Rescue’ Those on Rival Carriers

Sprint and T-Mobile

T-Mobile CEO John Legere today challenged subscribers to "save" their friends and colleagues from rival carriers.

Starting next week, whenever a T-Mobile Simple Choice user recruits a Sprint, AT&T or Verizon customer, both will receive unlimited LTE data for a full year at no added charge. Those subscribers already surfing on unlimited LTE data will receive a $10 credit each month for 12 months.

"It continues to amaze me to see the old carriers failing to listen to their customers—or reward them for their loyalty," Legere said in a statement. "That arrogance and indifference has defined the U.S. wireless industry for too long. We're changing all that. In fact, this entire Un-carrier consumer movement is built on the simple act of listening to customers."

The limited-time offer begins Friday, Aug. 29. T-Mobile customers can report their good deed online; you'll need your own phone number and that of your friend who's joining.

Report a successful rescue mission within 30 days of your friend's activation; the unlimited data or bill credit will begin in the same month. Users are limited to one $10 monthly credit or unlimited LTE offer per account. So don't think drafting 10 friends will earn you $100 per month.

Though the offer applies to recruits from all rival carriers, T-Mobile's press release focused primarily on Sprint, which has been in the news recently after a CEO swap and some new plans.

Today, in fact, Sprint announced the Sprint $60 Unlimited Plan, which offers unlimited talk, text and data for $60 per month - $20 cheaper than T-Mobile's plan. The plan kicks off on Aug. 22 for new and existing customers, who must buy a device through Sprint Easy Pay, pay full retail price, or bring their own phone to get the plan. The fine print notes that "other plans may receive prioritized bandwidth availability."

Sprint this week also ditched its "Framily" plans for a new $100 per month family plan for up to 10 lines through December 2015. It's only for new customers at the moment, though, who can share 20GB of data plus 2GB per device, and unlimited calling and texting.

T-Mobile's challenge comes days after a merger with Sprint fell through.



August 6, 2014

Report: Sprint to Drop T-Mobile Bid, CEO

Sprint and T-Mobile

It appears that T-Mobile will remain the un-carrier.

According to Bloomberg, which cited a person with knowledge of the matter, Sprint has pulled the plug on merger talks with T-Mobile - and its CEO.

Dan Hesse, who has been CEO since 2007, is reportedly being booted as Sprint's chief, and will be replaced by Marcelo Claure, founder of Brightstar Corp., Bloomberg said.

Neither company is talking, but the deal reportedly collapsed over money, as well as the chilly reception the deal was getting from regulators.

News of a possible Sprint/T-Mobile merger emerged late last year, and has been framed as a way for the nation's third and fourth largest carriers to compete against the top two: AT&T and Verizon.



July 31, 2014

T-Mobile Adds 1.5 Million Customers

T-Mobile LogoT-Mobile had a strong quarter, today reporting total revenue growth of 8 percent and the addition of 1.5 million new customers.

The service provider also reached a milestone 50 million customers in the second quarter.

"We have completely reversed T-Mobile's trajectory and started a revolution that is changing the rules in wireless," CEO John Legere said in a statement. "We are proud to be the fastest growing wireless company in America."

T-Mobile chalked its success up to recently launched services like T-Mobile Test Drive, which invites customers to try an Apple iPhone 5s on the Un-carrier network at no cost for seven days. Recently, it also added a Music Freedom feature for Simple Choice customers, which lets them stream tunes from popular services without draining 4G data.

Of course, more customers means more money: The number four U.S. mobile operator saw a 15.4 percent increase in revenue, reaching $7.2 billion in the second quarter. It also earned $391 million in the three months ending in June, compared to a $16 million loss a year earlier.



July 28, 2014

T-Mobile Targets AT&T With Data-Heavy Family Plan

T-Mobile CEO John Legere John Legere is not a fan of AT&T, and he's certainly not shy about it.

The outspoken T-Mobile CEO on Monday morning took to the company's blog to unveil a new family plan promotion, blasting AT&T and other rival carriers in the process. Under the new Simple Choice promotion, a family of four paying $100 a month can share up to 10GB of LTE data, with each person getting 2.5GB. Even better — there are no overage fees.

Currently, those in the Simple Choice plan get just 1GB of high-speed data per line. The promotion kicks off on July 30, and Legere says it's a way better deal than what you'll get on AT&T.

"Leaving my office last week, I pulled alongside a bus covered with yet another ad for AT&T's 'Best-Ever Pricing' for families," he wrote. "These ads are everywhere. AT&T's sinking some serious dough into marketing their latest-greatest family pricing, which strikes me as funny. Because their deal is no deal at all, and next to T-Mobile's Simple Choice Family Plan, AT&T's 'Best-Ever Pricing for Families' is a joke."

In comparison, AT&T's "Best-Ever" Mobile Share plan offers 10GB of monthly data for $160 a month.

"It infuriates me that they're selling this to hardworking families who could use that money for more important things," Legere wrote. "And they have the nerve to call it 'Best-Ever Pricing.' I just couldn't stand by without speaking up and calling them on their BS."

And while Legere specifically called out AT&T, he added that "Big Red and the Framily aren't any better," referring to Verizon and Sprint. Check out the chart below to see what he means.

T-Mobile's new family promotion will be available until September, and those who sign up can lock in the increased data allotment through 2016.

T-Mobile Simple Choice promotion



June 24, 2014

Sprint Counters T-Mobile’s ‘Test Drive’ With 30-Day Free Trial

Sprint Logo Sprint is firing back at T-Mobile's new "Test Drive" promotion with a pretty sweet offer of its own.

Those interested in Sprint service can now try it out risk free for 30 days, the carrier announced on Monday.

The promotion comes just days after T-Mobile began offering a free, one-week test drive of the iPhone 5s with no cost and no commitment.

"We believe customers will be delighted with the Sprint retail experience, our customer service, and the performance of America's newest network," Sprint Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse said in a statement, "so we're guaranteeing it."

The Sprint trial offer begins on June 27 and is available to new customers, select small businesses, and existing customers who activate a new line of service. If you aren't "completely satisfied" with your Sprint service within the first 30 days, the carrier will refund the cost of your device and wave all service and activation charges.

Other major carriers typically allow you to return your phone and cancel contracts within 14 days, but usually include a $35 re-stocking fee, unless the phone is unopened.



June 20, 2014

Report: Sprint Lines Up Financing for T-Mobile Deal

Sprint Logo Sprint has reportedly garnered the support of eight banks willing to finance a merger with T-Mobile, which would unite the third- and fourth-biggest U.S. mobile carriers.

According to Reuters, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup Inc., as well as Japanese banks Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, have all agreed to bankroll Sprint's proposed acquisition.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters said the debt package is valued at more than $40 billion, plus a $20 billion bridge loan from Japan's Softbank, as well as the $20 billion to refinance T-Mobile's existing debt.

Sprint declined to comment on the report.

The long-rumored Sprint/T-Mobile merger made what seemed like a step forward in May, when Deutsche Telekom, which owns 67 percent of T-Mobile, agreed to sell the U.S. service provider to Softbank, which holds a majority stake in Sprint.



June 19, 2014

Take T-Mobile (and iPhone 5s) for Free ‘Test Drive’

iPhone 5S

Should you get an iPhone, Android device, or try out Windows Phone? And which carrier is the best? These questions can be hard to answer without some hands-on time with your device of choice, but T-Mobile wants to help you out with its new "Test Drive" feature.

Starting June 23, T-Mobile is teaming up with Apple to offer a free, one-week test drive of the iPhone 5s - no cost, no commitment.

Interested users can sign up for T-Mobile Test Drive at t-mobile.com/testdrive, and the carrier will send one of Apple's latest smartphones a few days later. Use it for up to seven days free of charge, and drop it off at any T-Mobile store when done.

"That's it. Absolutely no money down. No obligation. No strings attached," according to T-Mobile, which said it expects at least one million people to take a test drive.

"The way this industry forces Americans to buy wireless is completely, utterly broken. I'm here to tell you there's a better way," John Legere, T-Mobile CEO and President, said in a statement. "While the carriers ask you to buy blind, the Un-carrier gives you transparency. Our network kicks ass, and now people can experience for themselves what a data-strong network can do with T-Mobile Test Drive."



June 9, 2014

Map Reveals How Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Wouldn’t Expand Coverage

T-Mobile LTE

As you may have noticed, I'm very against the proposed merger of Sprint with T-Mobile. Just this morning, I was mulling over how it will probably cost tens of thousands of jobs, as the two companies would eliminate duplicate retail sales and support positions and shorten their joint product lines as they combine them into one.

But that's not the topic of the day. I wanted to show you this map from Mosaik Solutions, which makes awesome mobile network maps. It illustrates something I've been saying all along: that if you're looking for a merger to expand Sprint's or T-Mobile's coverage, you're out of luck, as the networks are basically duplicative. Yes, a merger means that the combined company would probably kill off Sprint's CDMA network anyway, but existing network builds still matter, as Sprint's Network Vision towers are designed to be switched over to LTE anyway, and building out into fresh new areas usually means long, expensive permitting and land acquisition processes.



June 5, 2014

Report: Sprint, T-Mobile Agree on Terms of $32B Merger

T-Mobile Logo

Sprint and T-Mobile have reportedly wrapped up negotiations on a $32 billion merger deal, though a final announcement is not expected for another few weeks.

Terms of the agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal, include Sprint paying $40 per share for T-Mobile. But as with any deal, there is still a chance the acquisition—which would combine the country's third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers—could fall through.

Sprint declined to comment on the speculation; T-Mobile did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

Just last week, reports surfaced that Deutsche Telekom, which owns 67 percent of T-Mobile, agreed to sell the U.S. operator to SoftBank, a majority Sprint stakeholder. A merger would condense the number of major wireless competitors in the U.S., but give the combined Sprint/T-Mobile an edge in competing with AT&T and Verizon.

But not everyone favors the move: When rumors of the deal first emerged, PCMag's lead mobile analyst, Sascha Segan, outlined six reasons why a merger would be a bad idea.

Chief among them is the companies' incompatible networks, as well as the fact that "un-carrier" T-Mobile has recently excelled, pushing rivals like AT&T and Sprint to revamp their own plans.



May 22, 2014

T-Mobile Fires Up Voice Over LTE in Seattle

T-Mobile Logo

T-Mobile is bringing the "next major advancement in LTE" to Seattle.

The mobile carrier on Thursday announced it has lit up Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in the Emerald City for existing LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Light users. What does this mean exactly? Voice over LTE (VoLTE) essentially brings voice and data onto the same radio layer for faster call setup times and LTE data speeds while on a call. T-Mobile said it's almost twice as fast as a non-VoLTE call setup.

"VoLTE calls will be carried over IP on our LTE network instead of a circuit-switched path on our 4G HSPA+ network," T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, wrote in a blog post. "This is advantageous because your phone stays on our wicked fast LTE network to make a call."

To try out the new service, those with a G Flex , Galaxy Note 3 , or Light smartphone need to download a software update. Head over to your phone's "Settings" menu, then tap "General" and "About Device" to grab the update.