Challenger Tour Celebrates Past 10 Years, Looks to Future

Brad Duea
Senior Vice President of Product Management, T-Mobile USA

We've just wrapped up our nationwide Challenger Tour, a nine-city series of employee rallies where we talked innovation, quality and customer choice. T-Mobile has been at it now for more than a decade, delivering a number of industry firsts that have delighted customers and caused competitors to re-evaluate how they do business. And it's not stopping anytime soon.

Many highlights from the tour, kicked off in Seattle two months ago, come to mind. But what most resonates for me is how passionate, engaged and committed our employees are to T-Mobile's goal of becoming a true "uncarrier" in this market.

The telecommunications industry is at a pivotal place in its history. The technology has become incredibly sophisticated on the back end and fantastically simple on the consumer-facing front end, making smartphones, tablets and other data-consuming devices very approachable for the average consumer. As a result, mobile and wireless devices are enhancing personal and professional settings in ways few would have contemplated just a decade ago. At the same time, consumer thirst for mobile data services is skyrocketing, driving huge innovation in the industry.

Yet, even with all this unparalleled technological change, mobile carriers are stubbornly clinging to very antiquated and dysfunctional ways of doing business. Customers have grown increasingly frustrated with unpredictable billing and pricing, spotty network coverage, data limits and data caps, and restrictive and confusing device upgrade options. They want more innovation, quality and choice — and we are striving to deliver.

At each and every stop on our Challenger Tour (Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York), employees told me how excited they were about all the positive moves T-Mobile has been making in recent months toward our goal of really shaking up the industry for the benefit of our customers.

Just think about how much has happened in the relatively short time since this tour started in September:

  • As part of our $4 billion plan to transform our network, we rolled out enhanced voice and data coverage and faster speeds for unlocked devices, such as iPhones, in five metro markets, including Baltimore, Houston, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Washington D.C. (Since wrapping up the tour, we've added 10 additional metro areas: Miami; Phoenix; San Francisco; Mesa and Tucson, Ariz.; Modesto, Oakland, San Jose and Stockton, Calif.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
  • We unveiled a cool new lineup of devices, in time for the holiday shopping season, as well as some special offers.
  • Our parent company, Deutsche Telekom, announced a definitive agreement to merge T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS in a move to create the leading value carrier in the U.S. wireless marketplace.
  • We announced a $2.4 billion tower transaction with Crown Castle International Corp. that will help solidify our competitiveness in the industry and provide capital for our network modernization effort.
  • We named a new CEO, John Legere, a 32-year veteran of the U.S. and global telecommunications and technology industries. (Shortly after the tour was completed, we also named Michael Sievert, a 20-year marketing veteran of the tech and telecom sectors, as our new chief marketing officer)

This is a considerable list of accomplishments for a two-month period. But it doesn't even begin to touch how much we were actually doing during this time because we — like so many other companies and people in the Northeast — were also heads down dealing with the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

To assist with Superstorm Sandy relief efforts, T-Mobile provided phones and chargers to all American Red Cross shelters in New Jersey. Additionally, T-Mobile partnered with AT&T's network to enable roaming to both companies' customers in heavily affected areas.

All in all, it's been an eventful couple of months for T-Mobile customers, partners and employees. Given where the industry is at this point in time, I do not expect the pace to slow one bit. We are driven to deliver innovation that will challenge the status quo and please our customers.

Take a look at our YouTube channel and Twitter handle to see more from our Challenger Tour. Until next time, thanks to all our employees whose passion brings T-Mobile's innovations to life for our customers — for the past 10 years, this holiday season and beyond!

Brad Duea serves as senior vice president of Marketing for T-Mobile USA. He is directly responsible for all product management, including all devices (i.e., handsets, tablets, mobile hotspots, PCs), accessories and value-added services (i.e., entertainment, integrated communications, payments, safety and security, on-device marketing).

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