T-Mobile Goes After Businesses And AT&T And Verizon Should Be Concerned

T-Mobile has gone through numerous changes in the last few years, one being that the “Uncarrier” has expanded the aperture beyond consumer. For years, T-Mobile has focused on bringing disruption to the consumer segment, but it chose not to balance its business services efforts. 

The good news is that T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint brought many very smart and experienced people who understand what it takes to bring value to businesses. To that point, T-Mobile has already started to make some inroads towards business accounts with its partnership with Microsoft for small to medium businesses. T-Mobile has also been very successful in getting consumers to switch from AT&T and Verizon to its network in the last few years, but it hasn’t targeted enterprises until recently. 

T-Mobile For Business announced a new suite of workforce solutions this week that may be compelling for some enterprises, especially given the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Our Principal Analyst, Patrick Moorhead, fellow senior analyst Will Townsend, and I were briefed ahead announcement. Subsequently, we would like to provide our insights into what we find most compelling. 

Enterprise Unlimited 5G Plans

T-Mobile says that its 5G network covers more Americans than AT&T and Verizon combined, and we believe that equates to a significant service area for 5G monetization. This is thanks to T-Mobile’s 600 MHz low-band network, which the company started to roll out in 2019. In addition to the low-band spectrum, T-Mobile also has its ‘Ultra Capacity’ 2.5 GHz mid-band, which it is currently aggressively rolling out across the country. I have personally experienced the ‘Ultra Capacity’ part of T-Mobile’s network and saw 500 to 600 Mbps download speeds. Because T-Mobile anticipates that it will be able to handle a considerable amount of traffic with this new Ultra Capacity band, it is launching its new WFX Workforce Solutions portfolio along with new Enterprise Unlimited Plans. These new Enterprise Unlimited Plans allow for complete and unlimited usage of 4G LTE and 5G with no hidden fees or overages. Additionally, T-Mobile claims that it will match or beat the prices enterprises pay with other carriers while delivering fully unlimited 5G and not pools of data like the competition.

Home Office Internet

In addition to offering unlimited 4G and 5G data plans, T-Mobile also offers a unique Home Office Internet product that takes advantage of T-Mobile’s unlimited 5G plan and excellent coverage. T-Mobile’s Home Office Internet is a 4G/5G router that requires minimal setup and taps into T-Mobile’s 5G network to bring in a more stable and secure internet connection into the home. The pandemic has forced many people to work from home, and a lot of them are discovering that their home internet is not up to the task for a multitude of reasons. With this new T-Mobile offering, companies can offer their employees a dedicated and reliable work-only connection, separate from a traditional home broadband service used for smart home devices, entertainment streaming services like Netflix, and distance learning.

The Home Office Internet Gateway uses the latest in wireless technology with Wi-Fi 6 and is already pre-configured, so that it requires minimal setup and can be installed by the employee at home. Because T-Mobile has opted for a Wi-Fi 6 solution with its dedicated connection, there is already an added level of security compared to most people’s home connections. The Nokia-based platform has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor inside, so there is a lot of potential for additional enterprise applications and services to run on it locally. T-Mobile is offering this device at no cost to customers and includes it as part of the Home Office Internet plan. This gateway has management capabilities, which will include a content control service for restricting non-business traffic. T-Mobile states that future management functions are planned as the product matures. Future potential services include a certified partner CPE to address enterprise device requirements, managed SD-WAN enabling 5G primary & hybrid connectivity scenarios, and enterprise-grade MDM and orchestration.

Voice and Collaboration with “Collaborate”

T-Mobile also announced “Collaborate,” a cloud (uCaaS) collaboration package, including phone, video, and messaging collaboration services, through a partnership and investment in Dialpad. As its cloud-based, Collaborate customers don’t need PBXs or desk phones and can use any iOS or Android smartphone or tablet to work. I believe Dialpad offers “enterprise-grade” security and compliance as its installed at some of the world’s largest companies. Collaborate also integrates with Microsoft 365, which makes sense given its high penetration rate. 

I have talked to many CIOs and CEOs, asking me why they would ever buy another PBX or desk phone, given how we worked through the Covid-19 pandemic. This model is the future. While I respect that many companies have deep penetration and investments of PBXs and desk phones, any new investment in those must be scrutinized given the availability, security, and compliance offered by leading solutions.  

Wrapping Up

Historically, T-Mobile has focused most of its efforts on bringing value and disruption to consumer mobility services. We believe the company is establishing a strong beachhead to build an enterprise service portfolio with these new announcements. Work from home is here to stay post-pandemic, and the Home Office Internet Gateway and collaboration platform are both poised to bring an on-campus work experience into the home. That’s a good thing given the challenges that many face balancing telework and managing a family’s distance learning needs.  

We also believe that the acquisition of Sprint brought with it solid business services acumen with a seasoned executive team. T-Mobile has taken advantage of it with two former Sprint executives – John Saw in Neville Ray’s organization and Mishka Dehghan that leads business strategy for the combined company. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for T-Mobile for Business, but clearly, these announcements are a concrete step forward. AT&T and Verizon currently dominate the business market today in the U.S., but both companies should be looking over its shoulders right now.       

Note: Patrick Moorhead, President, and Founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, and Will Townsend, Senior Analyst, Networking and Carriers, contributed to this article