T-Mobile Launches $2.7bn Push Into America's 3g Market
T-Mobile is planning a $2.7bn (£1.4bn) push into the US market as it plays catch-up with leaders Cingular and Verizon Wireless with the launch of 3G services next year.
But the company, owned by Deutsche Telekom, is shying away from the exclusive film and music content deals that have characterised the launch of 3G in Europe. Instead T-Mobile wants to do deals with the likes of MySpace and Google to open up the mobile internet to US consumers.
Robert Dotson, the chief executive of T-Mobile USA, said:"We will take existing customer behaviour and look to leverage that behaviour in a mobile environment."
For instance, American customers using its Sidekick device, which runs on T-Mobile USA''s existing network, spend a third of their time accessing social networking sites such as MySpace, so it is an obvious market to tap.
"What we don''t want to do is replicate the expense of what happened in Europe," he added, where mobile operators have spent a fortune on 3G with so-far little tangible benefits.
T-Mobile was recently awarded a batch of 3G spectrum by the US government, with a price tag of $4.2bn, which doubles its capacity in the country. It will now spend $2.7bn building out its network.
The company, which is number four in the US market with 23m users, has been playing the waiting game while rivals such as Cingular have launched their next generation platforms.
That delay, according to Mr Dotson, should work in the company''s favour as it is able to learn from others'' mistakes while the price of networks and handsets has also fallen.
T-Mobile USA also intends to use its nationwide network of 8,000 wireless broadband, or Wi-Fi, hotspots in the next generation of mobile internet products.
Wi-Fi is being used by companies such as Orange and BT to offer customers one phone that works as a mobile and a home phone, connecting through a residential broadband line. T-Mobile is looking to persuade American users to dump their home phone in favour of their mobiles for both voice calls and internet access.