Despite T-Mobile USA’s latest period of growth in terms of subscribers in the fourth quarter, while slightly dipping from its third quarter gains, Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges has stated worry that the growth is unsustainable in the long-term and is still looking for a purchase or merger for the once struggling US arm of the German conglomerate by another company.
The CEO was at one point one of the biggest proponents for the Sprint purchase of T-Mobile in order to better compete against Verizon and AT&T in terms of scale before it was ultimately shut down by federal regulators. However, Hoettges also expressed concern over the results of the recent AWS-3 auction and how it would possibly continue to put smaller carriers at a disadvantage to Verizon and AT&T.
“I was intrigued by the idea of having a combination with Sprint and being the ‘super-maverick’ in the market. I hope that the political environment will change at one point in time.”
While Hoettges also praised current T-Mobile CEO John Legere for turning the company around with aggressive promotions, he also stated that T-Mobile US can’t support infinite growth at its current rate without a return on investment.
“We have done what we had to do, we had built an infrastructure and this infrastructure had to get utilized and we did that with very aggressive promotions. The question is always the economics in the long term. You have to earn your money back at one point in time.”
Currently, T-Mobile is beginning its efforts to target even more cost-conscious customers with its new slate of Simply Prepaid plans that cut select features in exchange for lower monthly prices as well as throttled LTE speeds compared to its full-featured Simple Choice Prepaid slate. During the year, T-Mobile is also expected to make increased efforts to acquire customers without internet access/smartphones due to high costs and small/medium sized businesses that typically do not qualify for standard business plans.