Chapter 5. The Customer

2012 was a tough year for T-Mobile. They suffered a major embarrassment when their merger with AT&T failed to get the necessary regulatory approval; and due to the company’s uncertain future, lack of support for the iPhone, and poor network coverage, they lost 800,000 subscribers.1 This was a death knell for the small US wireless company, which had been trying to compete with the likes of behemoths like Verizon and AT&T. Many believed that T-Mobile’s days were numbered.

At the beginning of 2013, CEO John Legere took the stage and announced that the company was headed in a new direction. He proclaimed that T-Mobile was going to be the country’s “un-carrier.”2

Legree argued that consumers were frustrated with complex calling and texting plans, long-term contracts, and confusing surcharges. T-Mobile was committed to doing business differently, and their goal was to be unlike any other mobile carrier—by not acting like a carrier at all.

On stage, Legere was bombastic, and at times vulgar, when describing the frustrations customers encountered when dealing with T-Mobile’s competitors. He wanted people to understand that he got their frustrations.

T-Mobile was going to be different. They were going to speak plainly and honestly, and above all else, they were going to do right by their customers.

Along with pumping four billion into upgrading their 4G LTE rollout, T-Mobile introduced their Simple ChoicePlan, which asked customers two simple questions: how many lines ...

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