T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm sat down with Ina Fried of AllThingsD yesterday to discuss LTE, the iPhone and the future of T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s merger with AT&T very publicly failed in recent months, leaving T-Mobile and its customers searching for what’s next.
From Mr. Humm’s interview, it’s very apparent that T-Mobile is still working out all the details of the post-merger fallout. Mr. Humm first discussed rate plans and indicated that T-Mobile will continue to push “Value Plans,” or plans in which customers trade handset subsidies for reduced monthly phone bills. According to Mr. Humm, these plans are aimed at folks who either need the latest and greatest devices and not so much data or those who don’t need new devices every few years but consume lots of data, ensuring that customers don’t overpay in either scenario.
When it comes to LTE, T-Mobile is taking a wait-and-see approach. Mr. Humm suggests that, although LTE is good over the long term because it reduces congestion by more efficiently utilizing spectrum, congestion isn’t a problem T-Mobile is having just yet. A speedy investment in LTE to respond to what AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are doing would be a poor move on Magenta’s part. With HSPA+ 42 providing much the same speeds T-Mobile’s rivals are offering, the consumer doesn’t really care which technology their phone is using as long as they can stream video and the like.
Finally, though we hate to admit it, the iPhone is the single best selling smartphone in the world, and T-Mobile is the only carrier without it. Mr. Humm chalked this up to T-Mobile using a different band than was used globally, which rendered the iPhone incompatible with T-Mobile’s 3G and HSPA+ networks. T-Mobile is still looking to get the iPhone, but believe the ball is in Apple’s court as to whether or not they’ll allow it.
Though Mr. Humm did not discuss T-Mobile’s plans for Android, we believe that T-Mobile will continue to bring high-powered Android phones to T-Mobile. We don’t think we’ll see any new Android phones out of T-Mobile (other than the Galaxy S Blaze 4G announced yesterday). But with Mobile World Congress and CTIA around the corner, who knows what 2012 has in store for the nation’s #4 carrier?