Sprint consumer brand headed for summer sunset

The newly merged Sprint/T-Mobile entity already is presenting a unified strategy in the enterprise department, and this summer, it will do the same for the consumer segment.

Speaking at an investor event on Tuesday, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert reiterated that Day One for the enterprise team at T-Mobile has largely already arrived. EVP of T-Mobile for Business Mike Katz and his team are now pursuing a unified strategy behind the T-Mobile brand to engage with large and small enterprise and public sector customers.

On the consumer side, “we’ve always been planning a summer timeframe,” Sievert said. “With COVID-19, we moved it out into the mid-summer instead of the early summer, and this is when we will essentially be advertising one flagship postpaid T-Mobile brand as well as operating a unified fleet of retail. The retail piece is why we slowed down just a little bit.”

T-Mobile hasn’t talked about an exact date – although some reports have pegged it as August 2 – but that’s when the company will present a unified value proposition behind the flagship postpaid T-Mobile brand. That value proposition will be activated by a fully trained, “fired-up team of people across all of our retail fleet, which will be branded T-Mobile,” Sievert said.

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During T-Mobile’s earnings call on May 6, Katz talked about the impact of COVID-19 on the enterprise sector and said many enterprises are looking at how they structure their spend in the wireless category. “We think that positions us for a lot of opportunity,” considering that AT&T and Verizon control 90% of the revenue in the enterprise space. “We think it's a big, big growth opportunity for us and we're really well positioned post-merger,” he said.

T-Mobile as insurgent

When Sievert arrived at T-Mobile, it had about 12% market share and now it’s a 30% market share incumbent. With cable and Dish Network now emerging as bigger players, Sievert was asked about the competitive landscape.

“I think we are the insurgent," he said. "We are the competition. That’s our mindset every day when we come to work. It’s how do we change the game and be able to rescue people from AT&T, Verizon and big cable. Nothing’s changed about that… We’re just a little bigger now.”

Customers of Sprint already are getting a better network experience with access to the T-Mobile network. More than 80% of the Sprint postpaid phone base has compatible handsets, and Sievert previously has said they’re seeing a big increase in weekly roaming on the T-Mobile network as a result.

Churn was a big factor for Sprint; it posted some of the highest churn rates in the industry in recent years, ending its last quarter at a slightly improved rate of 1.89% for postpaid.

The big driver of churn for any carrier, and particularly Sprint, is the network, so with access to a better network, those customers will be enticed to stick with the new carrier. Sievert said T-Mobile will honor the rate plans of the Sprint customers; it's not going to force them to change plans.