T-Mobile says no to G1 for business accounts

On October 18, 2008, in Technology, by Administrator

I continue to be amazed at how shortsighted technology companies can be with regards to providing services to business customers.  My recent experience with T-mobile is a perfect example.  My company uses T-mobile as our corporate cell phone carrier and with our recent move to Google hosted premium email services, we decided it would be great to test the G1 as a replacement phone for our standard Blackberries.  Unfortunately, T-mobile has decided to not make the G1 available for business customers.  Here are the steps it took to figure that out.

1)  Sent an email to our local store representative.  He noted that the G1 would not be in stores in our area as it is only being launched in 3G cities.  Recommends I try online.

2)  Log into our online account and are told we are not eligible for the phone and are given a toll-free number to call.

3)  Call the toll-free number and am told it is not available via phone order and to try online.  After telling the representative that online doesn’t work, he gives me an email for business care.

4)  Email business care and never get a response.  At this point, I am frustrated and have just about given up when a friend says I should email the CEO and gives me his email address.

5)  Drop an email to the CEO expressing my frustration as a business customer not being able to get this phone.  It seems to me that someone who spends thousands a month should be entitled to buy the same phone available to the average consumer customer.

6)  I get an immediate email back from T-mobile executive services, which surprises me.  Asks for my account information so they can help.

7)  Email my account information to them and explain reasons for wanting the phone and that we use Google for email anyway, so G1 should be a good fit.

8)  Receive a voicemail from a T-mobile rep where he states that the G1 is not available to business customers, but that we should look at the negative aspects of the G1 which he says is primarily the lack of enterprise email support.  He also goes on to recommend that we look at the new Blackberries and we don’t really need to the G1.

A couple of things come to mind.  First, good on T-mobile for being responsive to notes sent to the CEO.  Second, it amazes me that the representative would try to push us to BB when I made it clear we wanted a G1.  Lastly, it is a shame that business customers are treated as second-class citizens by T-mobile and that this phone is not being made available to us.  I am sure this will change as phones hit the stores, but major fail for T-mobile thus far.  Maybe we should look at corporate iPhones?


1 Response » to “T-Mobile says no to G1 for business accounts”

  1. strat says:

    T-Mobile’s support is not at all bad in my experience. (I won’t get into the 7th ring of Hell that is Sprint’s, even though I like their data services.)

    I think what you’re running into is a classic squawk from early adopters. There are a lot of things that go into a product rollout for a given market. You, as an early adopter, are probably willing to overlook certain idiosyncrasies in a product that I can all but guarantee many corporate customers would not.

    They will eventually do some “business” rollout, but they have a number of considerations: setting up business-caliber support desks/retraining the help desk staff in India, cannibalization of the BlackBerry customer base and or corporate relations with RIM and MS, and the like.

    I will give T-Mobile this.. they are perhaps the most willing to take risks with novel handsets (viz the Sidekick), and my friends in that sector tell me that they’re pretty open-minded about novel data services.

    They have been hamstrung in the past due to a lack of spectrum which had a direct impact on their ability to roll out faster data services. I think they may be in a better position now, but it’s a process and not an event.

    Business customers (as you know) can’t stand to be out of touch, and rolling out a platform where half the services aren’t operable in a given market would be a non-starter.

    As for the upsell to the BlackBerry, that is a bit annoying. I think it’s because the sales dept. mental keyword filter is currently set to “enterprise=BlackBerry.” It is indicative of a certain lack of attention however.

    I have no fundamental problems with BlackBerries, except that they’re now using the same transport as all other mobile phone messaging. When they were on the Mobitex network, they were a reliable alternath path for communications in the event of emergencies. On 9/11/2001 only my Mobitex (BellSouth Wireless Data/RAM Mobile Data/Motient) Blackberry and my Globalstar satellite phone worked.

    Now they’re no more reliable than any other IMAP client on a mobile phone in the event of network congestion. Oh well, you pays your money and you takes your chance.

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