Deutsche Telekom raises stakes in US and Germany

Deutsche Telekom’s US mobile operation T-Mobile fleshed out its new pricing strategy on Tuesday, led by CEO John Legere’s talk of a new ‘un-carrier’ model, which largely focused on tariff simplification, the removal of subsidies, and LTE coverage.

Also of interest was an announcement currently exclusive to Deutsche Telekom’s German operation in the shape of a deal with web clipping and reminder service Evernote. The companies say the first part of their partnership (which suggests more to come) will see all Deutsche Telekom mobile, broadband and fixed line customers in Germany provided with a one year Evernote Premium account.

Evernote enables users to take notes, clip webpages, snap articles, create to-do lists and record audio using  mobile phones, but it also has an API that has been used successfully to build project management tools. One of the main features of a Premium account is offline availability of notes and more sharing options.

As well as marking Deutsche Telekom’s amenability to working with web service providers, Evernote gets a boost in an already strong market. Out of the company’s existing 50 million users worldwide, 1.33 million are based in Germany, making it Evernote’s second largest market in EMEA. In Germany, Deutsche Telekom has 37 million mobile and 22 million broadband and fixed-line customers.

“At Deutsche Telekom, we count on partnerships to pave the way for innovations,” said Heikki Makijarvi, SVP Business Development and Venturing. “Our goal is to offer highly innovative and unique services with the easiest access possible. The cooperation with Evernote is an excellent example of two companies combining their strengths for the benefit of our customers.”

Going back to the US, T-Mobile’s ‘un-carrier’ announcement has been called a “bold and long-overdue attempt to revive its fortunes by differentiating itself from other major US mobile operators on the four key fronts of prices, services, devices and network” by Informa’s Mike Roberts.

Roberts, principal analyst for Americas at Informa said  T-Mobile customers would pay $1,330 less than Verizon customers over two years for a Samsung Galaxy SIII.

The comparison is based on a Samsung Galaxy SIII 16GB and two years of service from all operators, Roberts said. The device costs US$550 up front at T-Mobile USA, with US$70/month plan for unlimited talk, text and data. With Sprint, the device cost is US$100 with two-year contract, and plan is US$110/month unlimited talk, text and data. Verizon Wireless is US$200 for the device with two-year contract, and Share Everything plan at US$100/month for 2GB and US$40/month line rental.

The other prominent consumer news was that the LTE-enabled iPhone 5 would be available on T-Mobile from early April eliminating a disadvantage that the operator has struggled to overcome for some time.

The operator’s LTE network went live in seven cities and it plans an aggressive rollout to cover 100 million people by mid-2013 and 200 million by end-2013, in a bid to overcome the disadvantage of being the last major US operator to launch LTE.

“Although this new strategy is not without risks, it could help T-Mobile reverse its sliding market share, which stood at 9.6 per cent at end-2012, behind Sprint with 16.1 per cent, AT&T with 31.2 per cent and Verizon Wireless with 33.5 per cent, based on Informa data,” Roberts said. “T-Mobile’s share will increase to 12.2 per cent after it closes the acquisition of MetroPCS, which is more likely now that the deal has received regulatory approvals.”

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