There’s a Plan for That

During the holiday season, VZW launched an assault on AT&T with its "There’s a Map for That Campaign".  The campaign, mocking the "˜There’s an App for that’ phrase used by Apple to advertise the iPhone, focused on AT&T’s lack of nationwide 3G coverage as compared to VZW’s.  AT&T of course couldn’t take that sitting down, and launched a counter attack hailing the advantages of the AT&T network as a whole when compared to VZW’s.

Though these campaigns have been successful, both have allowed their other competitors to fly under the radar.  Sprint has done little to bring its name into the fore front, but T-Mobile made a move and launched brand new (not to mention game changing) plan structures.  T-Mobile released the new plans (named Even More and Even More Plus plans) in the last week of October, in time to capitalize on increased holiday shopping.

The Even More plans are typical voice plans that consumers are used to, but they are less expensive than prior T-Mobile plans.  The Even More Plus plans are unique, as they are much less expensive than prior T-Mobile plans, do not require (or allow) a 2 year contractual agreement, but require a consumer to pay full price (suggested retail) for a device if they chose to purchase one.  In essence, T-Mobile does not subsidize phones for consumers purchasing Even More Plus plans.  So which type of plans resonated most with Prospects (those visitors to the site who do NOT exhibit Customer specific behavior [log in, view Customer specific FAQs, etc])?

In the first full month since its release (November), more shoppers exhibited interest in the Even More Plus plans on T-Mobile.com.  However, this isn’t the only way to measure the impact of these plans.

In November 2009, T-Mobile experienced:

  • a 45% M-O-M increase in shoppers (Prospects or Customers) reaching the Plans area of T-Mobile.com
  • a 24% M-O-M increase in Customers exhibiting interest in changing their plan
  • an over 200% M-O-M increase in Customers choosing to change their plan

In addition to the new plans, T-Mobile introduced a phone payment plan, allowing Customers to pay for their devices over time through their monthly wireless bill.  This option is only available to new T-Mobile Customers if they purchase offline, and as this option would be most beneficial to shoppers purchasing an Even More Plus plan (with an unsubsidized device), it’s likely online interest in the Even More Plus plans was effected.

Not to be outdone, the big carriers (AT&T and VZW) reduced the price of their own plans around January 15th, offering unlimited voice services for as low as $69.99.  Looking at a quick comparison of the plans (focusing on individual plans) we can see the lower prices for AT&T and VZW still has them a long way off from T-Mobile’s new plan prices.

Clearly, T-Mobile has an edge on its competitors in terms of plan price"¦and as we’ve seen, shoppers have taken notice. Though AT&T and VZW are still the two biggest players in the Wireless Industry, consumers likely won’t ignore the money they can save (especially in today’s economy) for too long.  Price certainly isn’t the only factor in a shopper’s decision (indicated by the success of VZW’s coverage campaign), but as T-Mobile continues to get bigger and better phones (such as the Nexus One) it will likely continue to make strides in consideration among shoppers.

About BeckyBitzenhofer:
Becky Bitzenhofer is a Senior Associate at Compete. Becky spends her time at Compete managing a data team and delivering competitive analysis to wireless clients. Before Becky joined the Compete team she was a student at the University of Vermont. Becky hopes to continue to use and improve her analysis skills, and develop new and better ways use data to improve website performance. You can find and follow Becky on Twitter under the name Beckybitz.