Mobile revamps prepaid brand to spruce up image

Irving Hamilton
September 24, 2018

T-Mobile, one of the most disruptive wireless carriers in the USA, is completely refreshing its pre-paid subbrand MetroPCS with a new look, name, and more feature-rich plans.

As the third-largest USA wireless carrier awaits regulatory approval for its $26 billion deal to buy smaller rival Sprint Corp (S.N), T-Mobile is blurring the lines between its brands to avoid regulators ordering T-Mobile to divest Metro as a condition to approve the merger, one analyst said.

Metro by T-Mobile retains its two traditional plans at $30 and $40 a month respectively, with additional lines costing $30 each. In the $50 plan, you'll get unlimited data, 5GB of LTE hotspot, and cloud storage and mobile backup through Google One. If you upgrade to the $60/month unlimited plan, you'll get 15GB of LTE hotspot, Google One, and a full Amazon Prime membership.

T-Mobile announced that it will rebrand its prepaid service, MetroPCS, as "Metro by T-Mobile" in an attempt to tell customers that the brand is powered by T-Mobile's network. T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, bought MetroPCS in 2013 and merged the two companies.

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The "Metro by T-Mobile" push will kick off with a new "That's Genius!" marketing campaign, though Keys said the advertising efforts won't increase MetroPCS' existing marketing spending. T-Mobile said the new name and perks are meant to change the perception of pre-paid phone plans as having bad service and a lack of phone options because they are lower cost. Also, video streams on Metro by T-Mobile will be limited to 480p resolution.

"This makes Metro and T-Mobile more of a continuum rather than two distinct brands", said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, in an interview. The brand's customer base has grown from around 8 million in 2013 to fully 18 million today, likely due to the fact that T-Mobile is selling the brand nationwide (instead of in a handful of cities) across 10,000 retail locations.

T-Mobile has bolstered its own reputation in recent years, both by offering cost-cutting deals to customers and by improving its network technology.

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