T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile USA
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
Type Private (subsidiary of T-Mobile International AG)
Industry Wireless telecommunications
Fate Pending acquisition
by AT&T Inc.
Predecessor VoiceStream Wireless Inc. NASDAQ: VSTR
Founded 1994 (1994) (as VoiceStream Wireless PCS)
Founder(s) John W. Stanton
Headquarters Bellevue, Washington, United States
Area served United States
Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
Key people Philipp Humm, President and Chief Executive Officer
Products T-Mobile myTouch 4G
T-Mobile Jet 2.0
T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot
Services Even More Individual
Even More Family
Even More webConnect Overage Free
Pay As You Go
Premium Handset Protection
Revenue decrease US$21.347 billion (2010)
Operating income decrease US$2.705 billion (2010)
Net income decrease US$1.354 billion (2010)
Total assets decrease US$46.291 billion (2010)
Total equity decrease US$20.492 billion (2010)
Employees 42,000 (2010)[citation needed]
Parent T-Mobile International AG, a holding company of Deutsche Telekom AG
Website t-mobile.com
References: [1][2]
T-Mobile location in Houston, Texas

T-Mobile USA, Inc. is an American mobile-network operator, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, that provides wireless voice, messaging and data services in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company is the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. market with 33.73 million customers and annual revenues of US$21.35 billion. As of 2011, J.D. Power and Associates, a global marketing-information-services firm, ranked the company highest among major wireless carriers for retail-store satisfaction four years consecutively and highest for wireless customer care two years consecutively.

The company traces its roots to the 1994 establishment of VoiceStream Wireless PCS, originally a subsidiary of Western Wireless Corporation. Western Wireless spun off VoiceStream Wireless to shareholders in 1999, creating a public independent company, VoiceStream Wireless Corporation. In July 2002, VoiceStream Wireless Corporation was renamed T-Mobile USA, Inc. which operates as the U.S. operating entity of T-Mobile International AG, the mobile-communications holding company and subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom (DT).

On March 20, 2011, DT accepted a US$39 billion stock and cash purchase offer for the company from AT&T Inc. If completed, the acquisition would create the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., with nearly 130 million customers. On August 31, 2011, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit to block AT&T's proposed take over of T-Mobile USA. In announcing the suit, the Department's top antitrust enforcer said, "Any way you look at it, this deal is anti-competitive."[3]



T-Mobile USA, Inc. traces its roots to the 1994 establishment of VoiceStream Wireless PCS as a subsidiary of Western Wireless Corporation. Spun off from parent Western Wireless on May 3, 1999, VoiceStream Wireless was purchased by DT in 2001 for US$35 billion and re-named T-Mobile USA, Inc. in July, 2002.[4][5][6]

VoiceStream Wireless

VoiceStream Wireless PCS was established in 1994 as a subsidiary of Western Wireless Corporation to provide digital wireless Personal Communications Service (PCS) using the wireless GSM standard in 19 FCC-defined metropolitan service areas.[7] VoiceStream Wireless' digital, urban service areas complemented the analog, rural service areas marketed by Western Wireless under the Cellular One brand.[8]

VoiceStream Wireless logo

VoiceStream Wireless was a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Wireless until December 1997, when U.S. federal regulators granted Western Wireless' request to exceed a foreign ownership cap. The waiver allowed Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa to buy a 19.9 percent stake in the VoiceStream Wireless subsidiary.[9]

On May 3, 1999, Western Wireless spun off its VoiceStream Wireless division to Western Wireless shareholders, creating an independent, publicly traded Delaware corporation called VoiceStream Wireless Corporation.[10] Shares of VoiceStream Wireless traded on the NASDAQ under the stock ticker symbol VSTR. The spin off was intended to remove any conglomerate discount, get better value recognition for each of Western Wireless' core analog cellular and digital PCS networks and help each business pursue independent strategies.[11]

Omnipoint and Aerial acquisitions

In 2000, VoiceStream Wireless acquired two regional GSM carriers. Omnipoint Corporation, a regional network operator in the Northeastern U.S., was acquired on February 25, 2000, and Aerial Communications, Inc., a regional network operator in the Midwestern U.S., was acquired on May 4, 2000.[12] The combined company retired the Omnipoint and Aerial brands and completed integrating the three companies by converting to a single customer billing platform, implementing standard business practices and launching the VoiceStream brand and "GET MORE" marketing strategy in all markets.[13]

Deutsche Telekom acquires VoiceStream and Powertel

Transitional logo used by VoiceStream prior to the 2002 re-branding to T-Mobile.

On June 1, 2001, DT completed the acquisition of VoiceStream Wireless Inc. for US$35 billion and Southern U.S. regional GSM network operator Powertel, Inc. for US$24 billion. By the end of 2001, VoiceStream Wireless had 19,000 employees serving 7 million subscribers.[13]

In July 2002, VoiceStream Wireless Inc. took its current name, T-Mobile USA, Inc. and began rolling out the T-Mobile brand, starting with locations in California and Nevada.[14] T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. operating entity of T-Mobile International AG, the mobile communications subsidiary of DT.[2]

SunCom acquisition

On September 17, 2007, the company announced the acquisition of GSM carrier SunCom for US$2.4 billion; the acquisition closed on February 22, 2008. By September 8, 2008, SunCom's operations were integrated with those of the company. The acquisition added SunCom's 1.1 million customers to the company's customer base and expanded the company's network coverage to include North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, northeastern Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With this acquisition, T-Mobile's native GSM 1900Mhz network now covered all the major population centers across the United States.

Proposed acquisition by AT&T Inc.

On March 20, 2011, DT accepted a US$39 billion stock and cash purchase offer from AT&T Inc. for the company. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, a reverse breakup fee in certain circumstances, and customary regulatory and closing conditions.[5][15][16][17]

According to an industry analyst, after the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the company began to lose lucrative contract customers, dropping to 78 percent of subscribers in 2010, compared to 85 percent in 2006. Its high churn rate of 3.2 percent, compared to 1.2 percent at Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, and the drop in contract customers made the needed investments in network upgrades and additional spectrum too risky, reinforcing DT's decision to sell.[18]

Randall Stephenson, the chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc., expressed his confidence in the deal being approved based on the benefit to the public of expanding wireless access and relatively robust competition in the wireless market. The Alliance for Digital Equality, the Hispanic Federation, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and California Democratic representatives Loretta Sanchez and Joe Baca all support the deal. Consumer groups Public Knowledge, Media Access Project and Consumer's Union and the Computer & Communication Industry Association oppose the deal. Opposition groups have stated numerous concerns with industry consolidation resulting in a reduction in competition and job losses.[19]

If the merger is completed, AT&T Mobility would have a customer base of approximately 130 million users, making AT&T Mobility the largest wireless carrier in the U.S.[5]

On August 31, 2011, the United States Department of Justice sued to block AT&T's merger with T-Mobile on the grounds that it would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market. [3]


The company owns licenses to operate a 1900 MHz GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) PCS (Personal Communications Service) digital cellular network and a 1700 MHz/2100 MHz UMTS AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) digital cellular network that cover areas of the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It provides coverage in areas in which it does not own radio frequency spectrum licenses via roaming agreements with other operators of compatible networks.

In addition to its cellular mobile network, the company operates a nationwide Wi-Fi Internet access network under the T-Mobile HotSpots brand. The T-Mobile HotSpots network consists of thousands of Wi-Fi access points installed in businesses, hotels and airports throughout the U.S.

Cellular network

The company's predecessor, VoiceStream Wireless, began building a regional, 2G, 1900 MHz GSM, circuit switched, digital cellular network in 1994 and first offered service in 1996 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Salt Lake City, Utah. From that starting point, the network has expanded in size through acquisitions of other cellular-network operators and additional spectrum purchases. The network has expanded in capabilities through the introduction of new technologies. VoiceStream upgraded the 1900 MHz network to include packet switching via General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), then increased packet switched data transmission speeds via Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). In 2006, the company spent US$4.2 billion to purchase 120 D, E or F block 1700 MHz/2100 MHz AWS licenses[20] and began rolling out 3G UMTS services in those frequency bands. Most recent, the company has been upgrading network equipment and back-haul capabilities to enable first HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), then HSPA+ (Evolved HSPA) services in the AWS bands. It is marketing its HSPA+ services as 4G.

T-Mobile USA began serving 1.1 million customers in several states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico after T-Mobile USA acquired SunComm Wireless in February 2008. Pictured: A T-Mobile administrative office in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

As of 2010, the company's network reached over 293 million potential subscribers.[21]

Packet-switched data upgrade

Packet-switched data service first became available to users in the form of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). Packet-switched data speeds increased when Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) was incorporated into the network. EDGE coverage is available within at least forty percent of the GSM footprint.[22]

Both voice capacity and packet-switched data speeds improved when 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) equipment was installed in the network. On the January 5, 2010, the company announced that it has upgraded its entire 3G network to HSPA 7.2 Mbit/s, an improvement from its previous peak of 3.6 Mbit/s. It also said that it plans to be the first U.S. carrier to deploy HSPA+ across its network by mid 2010. The company has finished HSPA+ trials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and has begun deploying HSPA+ across its network. HSPA+ 42 Mbit/s service is now[when?] available to over 200 million potential subscribers. T-Mobile is marketing its HSPA+ services as 4G.

3G upgrade

In September 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioned licenses in the first Advanced Wireless Services band. This band was an area of wireless spectrum, half in the 1700 MHz (1.7 GHz) and half in the 2100 MHz (2.1 GHz) frequencies, that was already in use by government services. The spectrum was planned to become available after the government users migrated to different frequencies.

The auction made numerous licenses available in overlapping market-areas, economic-areas, and regional levels. Each license was individually bid upon, and T-Mobile USA was the winner in 120 license auctions, at an aggregate price of $4.18 billion. As part of its winnings, T-Mobile USA gained nationwide coverage of 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz, with numerous areas being supplemented with addition licenses. Examples include New York City, Chicago, and Boston where T-Mobile USA acquired one-third (33 percent) of the available spectrum, or San Francisco, Houston, and Miami where they acquired 45 percent of the available spectrum.[23]

October 6, 2006, two weeks after confirming its winning bids, the company announced its intentions to create a UMTS third-generation, or 3G, cellular network with the spectrum it had won. It said it would utilize and build on the experience of T-Mobile International's European subsidiaries, which already implemented 3G networks. At the time of initial roll-out, the company intended to offer 7.2 Mbit/s service, making the company's 3G network the fastest in the U.S. The upgrade was forecast to cost $2.6 billion, in addition to the $4.12 billion spent to acquire the spectrum licenses.[24]

In an October 6 announcement, the company indicated it had already begun to deploy about half of the upgraded equipment, beginning in major markets such as New York City. With the equipment in place, it would be able to activate its network as soon as the government agencies vacated the spectrum. The company had hoped to have its network activated by mid-2007, but as of September 2007, the government users had not vacated the AWS band.[24]

The company began selling its first 3G-capable phone, the Nokia 6263, in November 2007 and announced in February 2008 that its 3G network would finally be activated "within the next few months".[25][26] and released in the New York City market on May 1, 2008.[27]

To date, the company has launched its 3G network in most of its top markets. Additional markets will launch as they are tuned for optimal performance and in conjunction with marketing programs for new services or handsets. In 2009, the company upgraded more than 200 markets, covering some 208 million points of presence (POPS).[28]

4G upgrade

The company has begun rolling out its HSPA+ capabilities throughout its cellular network, planning to complete an upgrade of the entire network by the end of 2010, covering 185 million potential subscribers. It is marketing its HSPA+ services as 4G. The company's HSPA+ is currently[when?] claimed to be faster than Sprint Wi-Max. On September 2, 2009, Nokia launched the N900, which was the first device to support HSPA 10.2.[29]

On June 28, 2010, the company announced that it will begin to upgrade the network from HSPA+ 21 to HSPA+ 42 beginning sometime in 2011.[30] The company has begun full roll out of their HSPA+ 42 4G network and has a comparable speed to LTE.

Radio frequency spectrum chart

The following chart describes radio frequency spectrum bands accessible by the company's customers using compatible devices.

Radio frequency spectrum bands accessible by T-Mobile USA customers using compatible devices
Frequency Band Protocol Class Spectrum Purchased Service Began Notes
850 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G n/a 1996 Not operated by T-Mobile. Competitor networks accessible via roaming agreements
1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G 1994 1996 Based on original VoiceStream Wireless GSM PCS network
1700 MHz/2100 MHz UMTS (W-CDMA)/HSPA 4G (formerly 3G[31]) 2006 2008 (3G), 2010 (Marketed as 4G) First carrier in the U.S. to deploy services on AWS frequencies. Markets HSPA+ as "4G". UMTS band IV

Wi-Fi network - T-Mobile HotSpots

A T-Mobile store in San Jose, California

The company operates a nationwide Wi-Fi Internet access network under the T-Mobile HotSpots brand. The T-Mobile HotSpots network consists of thousands of Wi-Fi access points installed in businesses, hotels and airports throughout the U.S.

The T-Mobile HotSpot service offers access to a nationwide network of approximately 8,350 access points, installed in venues such as Starbucks coffeehouses, FedEx Office Office and Print Centers, Hyatt hotels and resorts, Red Roof Inns, Sofitel hotels, Novotel hotels, the airline clubs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways, and airports.[32]

The T-Mobile HotSpots network can be traced to the company's 2002 purchase of bankrupt wireless ISP MobileStar, which began building its network in 1998. After completing the purchase, the company expanded the network into 400 Borders bookstores, as well as 100 of the most-frequented airport clubs and lounges operated by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.[33][34]

Current products and services


Individual Plans:

  • Classic 500 minutes US$39.99
  • Classic 1000 minutes US$49.99
  • Classic Unlimited Talk & Text US$59.99$

Family Plans:

  • Classic Family 1000 minutes shared US$59.98
  • Classic Family 2000 minutes shared US$79.98
  • Classic Family Unlimited Talk & Text US$99.98

All Classic plans include unlimited nights & weekends. Unlimited Nights starts on Mon-Fri from 9:00 P.M. to 6:59 A.M., Unlimited Weekends starts on Sat-Sun from 12:00 A.M. to 11:59 A.M.

Customers qualifies for a subsidized, discounted handset and are required to enter into a two-year contract.

Value Plans

Individual Plans:

  • Value 500 minutes US$34.99
  • Value 1000 minutes US$44.99
  • Value Unlimited Talk & Text US$49.99

Family Plans:

  • Value Family 1000 minutes shared US$49.98
  • Value Family 2000 minutes shared US$69.98
  • Value Family Unlimited Talk & Text US$79.98

All Value plans include unlimited nights & weekends. Unlimited Nights starts on Mon-Fri from 9:00 P.M. to 6:59 A.M., Unlimited Weekends starts on Sat-Sun from 12:00 A.M. to 11:59 A.M.

Customers does not qualifies for a subsidized, discounted handset and are required to enter into a two-year contract. The Value plans is different from the classic plan as the discounts are not focused on the device itself, but rather on the plan, customers can either use their own mobile phone or purchase an unsubsidized handset from the company at full retail price and making payments in installments.

Mobile Broadband Internet

Mobile broadband is the wireless data service that allows you to connect to the full Internet on a mobile broadband-capable device through T-Mobile's network. Mobile broadband-capable Internet devices from T-Mobile® include tablets, netbooks, mobile hotspots, and laptop sticks. After the data capacities are reached the data speeds are throttled with no overages.

Mobile Broadband Classic Plans:

  • Overage-Free Plus (2 GB) US$39.99
  • Overage-Free Premium (5 GB) US$49.99
  • Overage-Free Ultra (10 GB) US$79.99

Mobile Broadband Value Plans:

  • Overage-Free (2 GB) US$29.99
  • Overage-Free (5 GB) US$39.99
  • Overage-Free (10 GB) US$69.99

Mobile Broadband Value Plans qualifies for a US$10.00 monthly discount (Must have active T-Mobile postpaid/flexpay voice line on the same account to qualify).


Although the company has the smallest native network of all the major national U.S. carriers, it has roaming arrangements with a number of regional mobile network operators, including Centennial Wireless (a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility), Dobson Cellular (a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility), and Rural Cellular Corporation (a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless) and with the national mobile network operators AT&T Mobility and the former Alltel Corporation (a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless) GSM network. These carriers predominately provided service using the GSM 850 MHz band, and a dual-band phone is required to use both the native and affiliate networks.[citation needed] When roaming on these affiliated networks, airtime is deducted from the user's plan, effectively expanding T-Mobile USA's nationwide coverage.[35]

As of 2008, prepaid customers have almost all of the postpaid domestic roaming privileges and restricted international roaming to Canada and Mexico.[36]

On June 29, 2010, the company launched voice service in the Gulf of Mexico on GSM via roaming agreement through BroadPoint Communications. T-Mobile USA was scheduled to launch data service in Fall 2010.[37]

While international roaming is available to most customers, the service must first be activated by contacting customer service. Once international roaming is provisioned on a customer's line, there is no monthly fee to maintain the service.

In 2009, T-Mobile USA began removing AT&T Mobility roaming coverage in many locations across the country, and updated its on-line coverage maps to reflect the smaller coverage area. AT&T Mobility roaming remains available in select locations, primarily on smaller carriers that were acquired by AT&T Mobility after long term roaming contracts were in place between T-Mobile and the smaller carriers, including Centennial Wireless and Edge Wireless.


In July 2007, the company launched a service called Flexpay for people with no or poor credit. Customers also can request to be on Flexpay even if their credit checks are qualified for post-paid service. This is an alternative to charging for a deposit for service and it doesn't allow overages on the bill. So the monthly payment will always be the same. Flexpay works similar to Prepaid in that the customer pays for service in advance. The customer has to pay up front for any services added rather than be billed. Flexpay customers have the option to sign up for autopay or be charged a $4.99 control charge fee every month. Customers get the same services (plans and features) as a postpaid account except flexpay does not allow laptop webConnect service and it limits how many lines one can have on the account. If one run out of minutes, one can purchase refill cards to allow overage at 20 cents per minute. The company offers refill cards in $10, $20, $50 & $100 increments. These cards are available at T-Mobile retail stores, Wal-Mart, Target, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Circle K, Office Depot, and many other locations. They can also be redeemed over the phone or online. Customers who have had good payment history for six months straight can request to do a Flexpay-To-Postpaid conversion. As of March 14, 2011, the company eliminated the Flexpay plan option in stores, and reinstated deposits based on customer credit. Flexpay plans are still available online and through Telesales by customer request. The company does a list monthly to see who qualifies to be switched over to a regular account who are currently on Flexpay.

Customer service


From as early as 2004, the company has captured multiple J.D. Power annual awards in the areas of retail sales satisfaction, wireless customer care, and overall customer satisfaction.[2] In 2011, J.D. Power and Associates stated that T-Mobile retail stores achieved the highest ratings among major wireless carriers for customer satisfaction for the fourth consecutive year, performing particularly well in price and promotions.[38] Also in 2011, J.D. Power and Associates ranked T-Mobile USA highest among major providers in wireless customer care for the second consecutive year.[39]


Sidekick data outage

On October 1, 2009, Sidekick users lost all data functionality and some users also experienced personal data loss including contacts, notes, and calendars. On October 8, most data services were restored to some users but the company and Microsoft announced on October 10 that data "almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger."[40] On October 15, Microsoft said it had been able to recover most or all data and would begin to restore it.[41][42] A few weeks later, all Sidekick customers were able to recover their data via Danger's sync website using a restore file, or had the option to wait until data was restored to the device itself. Due to this outage, many users abandoned the Sidekick for another device, or left T-Mobile USA for another carrier entirely.[citation needed]

Network outage

On November 3, 2009, the company's subscribers lost the ability to send and receive calls and text messages.[43] The company confirmed the outage via Twitter and later stated that five percent of its user base had been affected. It blamed a software error for the service interruption, stating that a backend system software error had generated abnormal congestion on the network.[44]


Through mid-2006, the company's spokesperson was Catherine Zeta-Jones who was the main figure in its branding strategy. As of September 2006, Zeta-Jones had officially been dropped as the "face" of the company for its advertising campaigns due to a corporate rebranding strategy.[45] The company also relied on rapper Snoop Dogg as the spokesperson for its T-Mobile Sidekick in a series of commercials late in 2004, the company also released a series of Sidekick phones known as the D-Wade Edition for basketball player Dwyane Wade.

The company is also an official sponsor of the National Basketball Association, the NBA Rookie Challenge and the Women's National Basketball Association.

In 2007, it changed its approach to advertising, and moved from the "Get More" slogan to a "Stick Together" slogan to focus more on the personal aspect of staying together with those who matter the most to its customers.[citation needed] With this the company also ended its relationship with Zeta-Jones, and now use mainly non-celebrity spokespeople (though Dwyane Wade, Charles Barkley, and Dwight Howard are featured in some commercials, in association with the company's sponsorship of the NBA as official wireless provider).

In late May 2009, Zeta-Jones was brought back as a company spokesperson to show customers how to pay less for their wireless plan in a new "Mobile Makeovers" advertising campaign that refers customer to third-party comparison site BillShrink.com.[46][47]

In late 2009, commercials for the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G featured the song "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" by Cat Stevens[48] and celebrities such as Chevy Chase, Molly Shannon, Dana Carvey and Darrell Hammond.[49] Another commercial with the same song performed by a different artist showed Wyclef Jean, Avril Lavigne and Brad Paisley.[50]

Carly Foulkes is the spokeswoman for the myTouch 4G in commercials that parody the Get a Mac campaign. The model is known for Rugby Ralph Lauren ads.[51] [52] [53] Although Foulkes is often identified with the color pink, T-mobile actually has a color trademark for the color magenta,[54] and markets itself using its corporate colors.[55][56] Virgin Mobile has, in turn, parodied the Carly Foulkes ads.[57]

In September 2010, the company launched "Kids are free till 2012" for family lines.

Labor relations

Certain T-Mobile USA employees and two labor unions have led multiple unionization attempts beginning as early as 2001. As of 2011, none of those efforts have been successful. If AT&T Inc. succeeds in acquiring T-Mobile USA, Inc., AT&T has stated in documents submitted to the FCC that T-Mobile USA employees will be able to choose to organize under the agreement currently in place between AT&T and the Communications Workers of America (CWA).[58]

Formation of TU

In April 2008, the CWA and the German service sector union ver.di formed a joint union for T-Mobile workers named TU. The organization was formed with the goal of overcoming the double standard of DT recognizing unionization efforts in Germany but discouraging similar efforts in the U.S.[59] As of 2011, no T-Mobile USA work groups have elected TU as their representative.[citation needed]

2009 coordinated organizing effort

CWA President Larry Cohen and a disguised, unidentified T-Mobile USA employee pictured at a 2009 press conference announcing a coordinated unionizing effort.

In 2009, a disguised, unidentified company employee, the CWA and ver.di launched a coordinated effort to unionize company employees. A spokesman for the CWA called on the company to stop resisting mobilization efforts and allow company employees to unionize as German employees of T-Mobile USA's parent company, DT, have done. In response, the company released an employee satisfaction study showing that more than seventy percent of the company's 40,000 workers were "very satisfied" with their jobs. Through a spokesman, the company stated, "Despite the Communication Workers of America's periodic organizing efforts for more than nine years, no group of T-Mobile employees has ever chosen to be represented by a union. While our company is always striving to find ways to improve, year after year, employees continue to view T-Mobile as a good place to work where they have no need for, or interest in, a union."[60]

Political pressure

In 2009, a number of politicians, in one case acting after lobbying efforts by CWA union activists, wrote letters to René Obermann, DT's chief executive officer, in an effort to influence T-Mobile USA's labor practices in the U.S.[61]

In a March 13, 2009, letter, U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) asked "why the company's approach to labor rights are different in Germany than in the United States". In an April 30, 2010, letter sent after lobbying by Communications Workers of America activists, 26 Democratic members of Congress called on DT to protect and respect workers' rights in the U.S.[61] A separate July 1, 2010, letter from seven Republicans addressed the same issue.[62][63] On August 10, 2010, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a statement in support of the worker's efforts to organize a union at the company.[64] In a letter, dated September 21, 2010, fifteen Californian Members of Congress urged Obermann to take action and implement fair and equitable labor relations.[citation needed]

In a November 5, 2009, letter, Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller and Trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, stated concerns about "the potential impact on the value of T-Mobile that may result from a disenfranchised workforce and the associated negative publicity that may impact T-Mobile's profitability."[citation needed]


Cover image of a report written by John Logan and published in 2009 by American Rights at Work

On December 9, 2009, the non-profit organization American Rights at Work published a report written by Prof. John Logan, Director of Labor Studies at San Francisco State University, titled "Lowering the Bar or Setting the Standard? Deutsche Telekom's U.S. Labor Practices". The report details behavior by the company that the author perceives as anti-union including dissemination of anti-union materials, intimidation and threats directed at pro-union workers, "captive audience meetings" and the retention of anti-union specialists.[65] In the report, which is based on documents from the National Labor Relations Board, internal company memos and handbooks, and interviews with workers, Logan asserts that the company engaged in a systematic campaign to prevent employees from forming a union and that DT was guilty of operating by a double standard. Deutsche Telekom respects workers' rights in Germany, where it cooperates closely with unions, but mistreats workers in the United States and interferes with their right to organize".[clarification needed][66]

On September 2, 2010, Human Rights Watch released a report written by Lance Compa titled "A Strange Case: Violations of Workers' Freedom of Association in the United States by European Multinational Corporations". The report concludes that "company policy has translated into practices that leave the workforce fearful about even seeking union representation."[67] DT proclaims its adherence to international labor law and standards that are embodied in German domestic laws. But HRW found that "T-Mobile USA's harsh opposition to workers' freedom of association in the United States betrays Deutsche Telekom's purported commitment to social responsibility, impedes constructive dialogue with employee representatives, and in several cases, has violated ILO and OECD labor and human rights standards".[68]

Workplace activities

At the company's Allentown, Pennsylvania, call center, security guards were ordered by company managers to write up incident reports whenever union supporters appeared on nearby public grounds and to record the license plate numbers of employees who stopped to take leaflets. In 2006, the National Labor Relations Board found these activities to be in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act.[69]

In 2008, company management in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Retail Divisions sent a memorandum to store managers instructing them to immediately report any union activity to their supervisors.[70] Human Rights Watch states, "The NLRB has long held that such activity interferes with, restrains, and coerces employees in the exercise of Section 7 rights in violation of workers' right to freedom of association."[71]

Information Security

In January 2005, it was revealed that twenty-one-year-old hacker Nicolas Jacobsen had been charged with intruding into the company's internal network.[72] Reports indicated that for about a year he had access to customer passwords, address books, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and Sidekick photos but not credit-card numbers. He was also able to read customer e-mail including that of the U.S. Secret Service. He was identified by a Secret Service informant as part of "Operation Firewall" who provided evidence that Jacobsen had attempted to sell customer information to others for identity theft. The company and the Secret Service did not elaborate on the methods Jacobsen used to gain access but sources close to the case indicated that an unpatched flaw in the Oracle WebLogic Server application software used by the company was the weakness he exploited.[73] Additional SQL injection vulnerabilities with the company's web site were reported by Jack Koziol of the InfoSec Institute.[74]

An additional security flaw with its voice-mail system password-less login feature exposes the customer's voice mails to third-parties through Caller ID spoofing. The company recommends that this feature not be used but still offers it by default due to customer demand.[75]

On June 6, 2009, a message posted from an email account "pwnmobile_at_Safe-mail.net" to the Full Disclosure mailing list claimed that the company's network had been breached and showed sample data. The sender offered "databases, confidential documents, scripts and programs from their servers, financial documents up to 2009" to the highest bidder.[76][77] On June 9, the company issued a statement confirming the breach but stating that customer data was safe. It claimed to have identified the source document for the sample data and believe it was not obtained by hacking.[78] A later statement claimed that there was not any evidence of a breach.[79]

Data privacy

T-Mobile USA doesn't store any information on Web browsing activity.[80]

See also


  1. ^ Press release (2010-02-25). "T-Mobile USA Reports Fourth Quarter 2010 Results" (PDF; requires Adobe Reader (123KB)). T-Mobile USA. Archived from the original on 2011-03-11. http://www.webcitation.org/5x5smzSz6. Retrieved 2011-07-30. "Year Ended December 31, 2010 Total revenues 21,347" 
  2. ^ a b c "Overview - Quick Facts". T-Mobile USA. 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-04-28. http://www.webcitation.org/5yHxuGv74. Retrieved 2011-04-28. "Ownership: T-Mobile USA is the US operating entity of T-Mobile International AG, the mobile communications subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG" 
  3. ^ a b Schoenberg, Tom (2011-08-31). "U.S. Files Antitrust Complaint to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger". Bloomberg L.P.. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-31/u-s-files-antitrust-complaint-to-block-proposed-at-t-t-mobile-merger.html. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
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