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Print 16 comment(s) - last by Bateluer.. on Jan 21 at 3:56 PM

80,000+ customers have already written one of the "Dear John" styled letters

"It's not me, it's you."
 
That's the message many Americans are sending their carriers, courtesy of America's favorite rabble-rousing underdog, T-Mobile USA. 
 
Currently in fourth place, the subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DIE) last year became the nation's fastest growing wireless carrier, thanks to its new CEO John Legere's penchant for aggressive advertising and T-Mobile's move to position itself as an "uncarrier".
 
The long-haired Legere looks more the part of an aging rock star than an executive leader perhaps.  He's more at home in a leather jacket than a suit.  But as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg taught us, today's tech visionaries don't necessary come sporting a cookie-cutter suit and tie.

John Legere
John Legere -- the rock star CEO [Image Source: T-Mobile USA]

T-Mobile's return to growth has been as unpredictable and as fiercely independent as its chief's fashion sense.  In Q4 2013 T-Mobile USA added nearly 1.65 million new customers, a result will likely best Verizon Inc.'s (VZ) -- the nation's largest carrier.  Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) analysts predicted 1.5 million adds from Big Red (Verizon) who reports its earnings tomorrow.  If those numbers pan out, it would mark the third straight quarter Verizon fell short of T-Mobile in growth.
 
T-Mobile's unsubsidized, contract-free business model is proving a disruptive power in the U.S. market.  AT&T Inc. (T) was so riled by the move, that it specifically targeted T-Mobile customers with a special $450 USD incentive for jumping back on a binding contract.  That move was labeled as "desperate" by T-Mobile's John Legere, who salted the wound by offering a $350 USD counterincentive to pay the early termination fees (ETFs) of AT&T customers who ditch the contract (plus a $300 USD phone trade-in credit for up to $650 USD).
 
In recent weeks that incentive has proven so popular that T-Mobile has decided to expand it to cover customers of Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S).
 
T-Mobile's latest effort to get under its rival's skin is "The Break Up Letter", a Facebook, Inc. (FB) app that allows users to vent their frustrations to their current carrier.  As silly as the concept sounds, it seems to have yet again struck gold in terms of tapping into public frustrations over pricing and service in the U.S. wireless industry.

T-Mobile breakup letter app

So far over 80,000 people have written a breakup letter to Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T, according to Reuters.  T-Mobile USA spokeswoman Anne Marshall tells Reuters:

As you can see from some of the breakup letters, people do say who they're breaking up with. In fact, customers are making signs, wanting to get their photo taken - they really want to have fun with it.

Of course not all the letter writers are actually switching, but the enthusiastic response certainly will give T-Mobile more firepower public relations-wise in months to come.
 
And to add one more dig, after crashing AT&T's Jan. 8 CES party where indie rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were performing, John Legere initially said he crashed the event because his company wasn't blowing money on concerts.  But this week he changed his tune, announcing T-Mobile would look to one up AT&T with its own show on Jan. 23 featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  Mr. Legere stated:

My appreciation for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis seems to be the worst kept secret in the social hemisphere.  Their ability to shake things up and keep it real for their fans is a lot like the Un-carrier moves we've been making.

Macklemore
T-Mobile is hosting a Macklemore concert of its own. [Image Source: Getty Images]

The concert will be held at the Belasco Center, with 1,400 tickets available for sale.  Tickets went on sale here on Friday -- it appears to be sold out.  We'll be waiting to here if AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson crashes the show – but somehow we doubt it will happen.

Sources: Reuters, [2], Facebook [T-Mobile Letter App]



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I'm a little hesitant
By Ranari on 1/20/2014 4:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a little hesitant on the break-up letter idea, and I think in the long run might make T-Mobile's life a little harder. While it offers a great way for T-Mobile customers to express their grievances about what they were upset about, as well as feel like their voice is heard and is counted for, it also gives AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint a clear and concise list of things they can work on to provide improve their customer experience. It's basically like handing your competitors a clear list of things they need to work on, and believe me, they will.




RE: I'm a little hesitant
By ebakke on 1/20/2014 5:10:50 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you're a T-Mobile shareholder (and a significant one, at that) I don't see why you'd be hesitant or why the letter would negatively affect you. Care to elaborate?


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By drkicker on 1/20/2014 6:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T hasn't worked on their (lack of) customer service issues in 10 years, I don't see them starting now regardless of them getting 80,000 letters saying their customer service is the problem. T-Mobile has great customer service from my experiences, unfortunately, they don't cover 80% of the places I travel to. When my contract expires in September, I have no idea who I'm going with because they all have flaws or lack of coverage despite what their maps say.


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By Jeffk464 on 1/20/2014 8:50:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, if you travel a lot verizon is pretty tough to beat. But where I live Tmobile gives great service.


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By tayb on 1/20/2014 6:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
I can't help but laugh at the idea that either AT&T or Verizon give a single shit about customers. These are the same companies that have successfully defeated net neutrality, imposed ridiculously low data restrictions, restricted consumer choice, and raised prices. All for the fuck of it.


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By eagle470 on 1/20/2014 6:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
The CEO's of AT&T and Verizon probably use their large stacks of millions to clean off the lotion after they get done reading income statements.


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By MichalT on 1/20/2014 10:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T and Verizon care deeply, DEEPLY about their customer... 's wallets. However, very few companies actually care about anything other than their customer's money.


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By Jeffk464 on 1/20/2014 8:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's basically like handing your competitors a clear list of things they need to work on


Well yeah, they need to offer the same no contract service separating the monthly service fee from the phone subside fee. I just switched from Verizon to tmobile but since I own verizon stock I would appreciate it if you all don't do the same thing.


RE: I'm a little hesitant
By Bateluer on 1/21/2014 3:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T/Verizon/Sprint know full well what they need to work on, and have known for the past decade, and haven't touched it.


Rustle dem feathers
By quiksilvr on 1/20/2014 1:49:34 PM , Rating: 3
This industry is in dire need of this. Kudos to T-Mobile for actually enticing competition to this oligopoly.




RE: Rustle dem feathers
By Jeffk464 on 1/20/2014 8:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
absolutely, up until now it almost seems like there has been an agreement not to compete.


What a great idea!
By CaedenV on 1/20/2014 2:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Because what else could possibly help the transition form your old carrier to the new one go perfectly smoothly other than backhanded insults?




RE: What a great idea!
By ebakke on 1/20/2014 3:10:13 PM , Rating: 2
Write it after your number's been ported out (which completes in all of 60 seconds these days). Informing companies why you choose [not] to do business with them is an excellent idea. It gives them tangible evidence of what they should continue to do, and what they should change. Without the direct input from [former] customers, companies resort to guessing or inferring why you acted the way you did.


Dear T-Mobile, You suck
By DesertCat on 1/20/2014 8:04:16 PM , Rating: 1
A laughable little stunt by T-mobile. They were my first cell carrier and I found them highly disappointing (very inflexible, poor coverage, etc.). Though I'm sure some won't believe me, I've found AT&T to be friendlier, more reliable, and a better deal than anything I had with T-Mobile. Cutesy advertising may win over some rubes, but this is just loud talk from a substandard service.




RE: Dear T-Mobile, You suck
By Jeffk464 on 1/20/2014 8:55:05 PM , Rating: 1
Yup, tmobile has the worst coverage and the best pricing. Just depends on your needs I guess. Personally I haven't dealt with anyone at Tmobile as I set everything up myself, so I couldn't tell you. I'm always my own tech support.


Oh, Lord...
By villageidiotintern on 1/21/2014 8:28:10 AM , Rating: 2
...how I would like to write a Dear John letter to Verizon. And while I have the pen out, write one to Comcast also.




"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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