Wednesday, August 31, 2011

T-Mobile Still on the Block for a Purchaser?

So if AT&T can't take over T-Mobile, who benefits (other than Sprint's lobbyists, who probably earned themselves big bonus checks)?

As a T-Mobile customer who dreaded having to put up with AT&T's infamously bad customer service but who very much looked forward to getting an iPhone with the new combo company, I'm obviously split.

T-Mobile has justly famous customer service; I still rave to people about the polite, helpful, friendly customer service reps I dealt with a year and a half ago when I switched my phones with the service. Customer service is something of a telltale sign of corporate intelligence, to me; companies – especially large public companies – tend to treat the front-line customer service staff as expendable, and they pay them poorly. That has always struck me as ridiculous and self-defeating; I likely will never talk to or correspond with the CEO of T-Mobile or Comcast, so their exorbitant salaries improve my service not one bit. But I will talk to and correspond with their customer service reps from time to time, and those are the interactions that determine whether or not I stay with the company and continue to help pump in enough money to overpay the C-suite employees.

And despite whatever the corporate honchos would surely tell us during and after the merger (probably crap like, "We will never cut customer service quality" or "Customer service and excellent customer care are always our top priority" or "We'd rather shoot our grandmother into the sun on a rocket than hurt customer service,"), customer service is exactly one of the places they'd look to get rid of "redundancies" and "excess spending."

iPhone should come to T-Mobile eventually anyway (hopefully before my latest HTC smartphone dies), so if all other things remain normal, I will be a happy customer. But it seems that Deutsche Telekom AG has been looking to unload T-Mobile for some time, so it's probably going to be sold to somebody at some point. And I don't want an iPhone with terrible customer service or coverage. If I wanted that, I'd have switched to AT&T a long time ago.

Watch and wait.
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