T-Mobile-compatible phones coming to MetroPCS stores

T-Mobile plans to keep the MetroPCS brand alive and even expand it to new markets, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert told CNET.

T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert. Lori Grunin/CNET

T-Mobile will begin selling phones compatible with its network at MetroPCS stores later this quarter, according to T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert.

The goal is to sell only T-Mobile-compatible phones at MetroPCS stores by the end of the year. The move will help accelerate the migration of customers from the MetroPCS network to that of T-Mobile, Sievert told CNET on Wednesday.

T-Mobile was reborn today, appearing for the first time under the ticker TMUS as an independent and U.S.-based publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. This follows the company's merger with MetroPCS . The deal gives T-Mobile a strong regional prepaid brand in MetroPCS, as well as the wireless spectrum that goes with it.

Rather than try to straddle two networks, as Sprint disastrously did with Nextel, T-Mobile is looking to move customers off the MetroPCS network and shut it down as quickly as possible. Still, Sievert said the process to get all MetroPCS customers to switch networks will likely occur over "the next couple of years."

"The economics suggest it will take some time," Sievert said.

In the meantime, Sievert said there remains a lot of value in the MetroPCS brand, and the company may extend the MetroPCS service beyond its current geography, using T-Mobile's broader network to expand the offering to new markets.

For now, MetroPCS customers won't see a lot of changes to their service. The prepaid provider offers unlimited plans that range between $40 and $60 -- a $10 discount to T-Mobile's range of plans, which go from $50 to $70 a month.

T-Mobile's service and coverage are superior to MetroPCS, justifying the price difference, but Sievert suggested that the company would shake up some of the pricing down the line. He declined to go into specifics.

"It's hard to make a prediction on where that will go," he said.

Sievert said that the radical changes with the company's ownership structure aren't changing its strategy to upend the wireless industry with its no-contract and no-subsidy pricing.

"What's changing," he said, "is the resources we have to execute on that strategy. It's so critical."

 

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