T-Mobile USA IPO Or Spinoff Inevitable?


deutsche-telekomWe love T-Mobile USA. Say whatever you want about them… they were the first carrier to embrace Android and they took a risk that other carriers were unwilling to take. Android was a strategic advantage to them, but without SOMEONE initially stepping up, Android never would have gained the momentum it has now. Someone needed to step up and T-Mobile was that “someone”.

But Deutsche Telekom are the owners of T-Mobile USA and although its the 4th largest American carrier, the division has consistently lost money while Verizon and AT&T gain significant ground. There have been rumors of sell-outs and spin-offs before and it seems they are returning.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the most likely scenario is a T-Mobile USA IPO that would sell about 20% of the company. The possibility of selling TMO USA to an American rival is still a possibility, but less likely. Verizon and Sprint both run a CDMA-based network and AT&T’s GSM network runs different 3G bands. Clearwire could get in on the action but the company – owned by an array of conglomerates – doesn’t seem to be headed in the right direct; even Google has decided not to put any more finance/resources into the struggling company.

I’m not sure WHAT will happen with T-Mobile USA but I am truly hoping they don’t get sold to another American carrier. In the past 2 years, both on their own and in conjunction with Google Android, the company has been innovative and willing to push the envelope for their customers. In many cases, the opposition has responded, but they never would have if T-Mobile USA didn’t make the initial move.

Competition is good for customers and I would love to see T-Mobile USA stay in the market. However, to sell 20% of the company and have them invest in infrastructure and services as we move towards a 4G world… could prove ominous. If they’re losing money now, what path will prevent that from happening in the future?

If the company is losing money, T-Mobile USA definitely needs to make a move. But don’t be mistaken – selling the company or opening an IPO is NOT a strategy. Even with more money and/or a new owner there needs to be a plan that will help reverse the company’s financial woes.

Personally, I’m surprised to see T-Mobile’s problems as they seem to really have a handle on what their customers want. We’ve seen Sprint face similar fortune. I would love to be at the round table meetings discussing “What to do, what to do”… in the meantime we can only speculate and hope for the best.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. They should sell to Google and be renamed G-mobile.

  2. I have T-Mobile and am dispappointed to hear this…so does this mean that there most likely wont be any good android phones coming to T-Mobile in the future? I assume that is what is meant when you said that Google has decided not to put anymore finances and resources into the company. And I was hoping the next nexus phone which was rumored to have a keyboard was going to be coming to T-Mobile!

  3. please, T-Mobile, don’t get sold! I don’t wanna pay AT&T or Verizon prices! I love paying low prices for a great service.

  4. hey presto, their name is sprint…

    well, at least here it works good, and its way cheaper than the other 3. and Ive had nothing but good experiences with customer support for the last couple years Ive had them.

  5. I think that if T-mobile was bought out by At&t that the prices that At&t charges may go down! On that note, I think that if you have a contract with T-mobile and they were bought out you would have to pay the same rate that you are now or at least until your 2 year contract is over!

  6. For now this seems like sad news for me because I don’t want to have to eventually switch. Tmobile was my firrst real phone and I stayed with it from all the way back then 5-6 years ago to now because of such good service and price.

    If they get sold by the sounds of it new tmobile will be higher priced plans and probably crappy service.

  7. T-Mobile offers excellent coverage here in Los Angeles, and is significantly cheaper than both AT&T and Verizon. If T-Mobile gets sold out, then we can all look forward to higher prices!

  8. + 1 for the first response. G-Mobile

  9. Not sure who wrote this article or where you get your facts but T-Mobile USA isn’t losing money. Check the quarterly earnings from Deutsche Telekom. DT may be bleeding money but T-Mo USA is holding up fine.

  10. I love T-Mobile even more plus. It saved me alot of money on Android Family Plan. Though I paid full for the phones, in long run, it is much worth it than AT&T and verizon.

  11. In NY Verizon Wireless is #1, T-Mobile (G-Mobile, whatever they want to be called) and AT&T service is not that great at all. I became a believer back when NY had the blackout a few summers ago. No other phone carrier worked except Verizon. Who cares about who did what first, its about who can do it the best. Although the plan rate are higher, the service is the best.

  12. I think it’s funny to hear “I’m surprised by this.” What’s there to be surprised about? Don’t you people understand business or at least math? You have a company marketing and playing on the big boy stage, with a far inferior network, with a growing populous that demands more, faster, better data devices with an expectation that it work “everywhere” and they charge substantially less than competitors! You have to understand that in the longterm that’s a recipe for diaster. I mean yes, initially as a consumer we are all happy that t-maybe charges so much less but a companies first responsibility to it’s customera and employees is to stay in business. They don’t help anyone if there not in business.

    So there going to have to choose. They can’t stay in the middle riding the fence. Are they going to be a value carrier and compete in the crowded field with prepaid, local and regional carriers, and MVNO’s or are they gonna step it up and compete with the big boys? They have to make a decision and take action.

  13. Jeff is right.. they are not losing money. Not sure what is up with the doom and gloom WSJ article,, perhaps T mobile USA “may” split from the DT parent, so that investors and management can better focus their efforts on the different markets.. In reading the USA figures at their site 3rd quarter, although they lost some customers they doubled their 3G users.. time wise, that is probably due to the myTouch.. There were probably opportunities lost and decisions made, that have made them take a harder look at the organization.. but they are hardly failing.

  14. Give us better Android phones. That will make money. The Hero, Droid, Eris, even the Moment – all on other carriers whose business incidentally grew as a result. What T-Mob gives us instead is a rebranded myTouch with guitar wood finish.

    Uh, no.

  15. Uh … better phones and improved network — the winning formula for T-Mob to make money.

    It’s just not complicated.

  16. If anyone from TMO’s reading, the ONLY reason I’m not on TMO is their lack of 3G coverage area.

    TMO, making your coverage in urban areas 100% faster wouldn’t sway me even the tiniest bit.

    Making your coverage area much WIDER would sway me. I’ve been aching to go to you, constantly watching for an announcement of drastically widened 3G coverage, but until I see it I’ll almost certainly remain on sprint. And if sprint gets a nexus phone, that’ll probably be the end of my incentive to go TMO.

  17. Perhaps the best marriage would be between T-Mobile and Google itself. If Google is in the retail handset business, why not the wireless carrier business too? It would be a decisive advantage over Apple.

  18. you guys sound like its that easy to get phones for a company or to build network infrastructure. T-mobile is expanding its 3g network and cities are going 3g and this is ongoing. This year last month, was that Kentucky that went 3g now? Its gonna take some time to build all these INFRASTRUCTURE! It’s not like t-mobile doesn’t know they need better coverage or new phones. It’s the FACT THAT they need time to build it. It’s not like if you say it now, tomorrow there’s a tower on ur area. God people, learn to wait or better yet, have fun with your carrier.

  19. I’ve been a loyal T-Mobile customer for 7yrs and in the last two years I’ve seen T-Mobile USA take a change for the worst. First the customer service went straight down the tubes, every time I would call customer service I would be on hold for well over 40mins crazy!Second what is going on with there cell phones? The company took a HUGE step when it opened the doors to Android spite the crappy coverage. Now look at them still selling the G1 and they took on the mytouch 3g /Fender addition are all basically the same dam* thing. They didn’t even learn from Verizon.. DROID,DROID ERIS and rumors the SUPERSONIC or whatever you want to call it but all different “better” phones. Sprint and now AT&T are taking on Android full speed ahead. I feel really disappointed with T-Mobile USA my contract is up in October and I will be switching carriers and I am not the only customer that feels that way. If they wont to survive in the real mobile world BETTER PHONES!!!! we can look pass the crappy coverage :-P

  20. All the posts about how coverage is key or the new devices need to be better should read more then retarded peoples speculations. Tmobile has launched hspa network improvements which were in tech forums a year ago, making it the fastest mobile network PERIOD. Sprints “4g” network is run off of Clearwires defective network, and their claims of highest speeds on mobile devices are unfounded. Also, if you do a little research you’ll find that DK owns more cellphone band width in the US then even the biggest carriers. While they have made several strange decisions as of late new devices are on the horizon, a new version of samsungs galaxy line is clearly visible on their web site and they are finally offering LG devices. Besides who wants etf’s double their competitors?

  21. tmobile is strong, innovative and resilient, they will be around for a long time. Yes its harder since recession to keep the company stable but its not impossible.

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