Mobile operator T-Mobile US has announced that it won a contract to provide mobile services to Shell Oil Company, the U.S. subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. The offering includes eliminating roaming fees with high-speed international data, upgrading in-building coverage for 7,000 of Shell’s corporate employees across the U.S., and providing in-person support for employees setting up and connecting their devices. The roaming offer includes unlimited data and texting in over 140 countries.
T-Mobile’s disruptive “Un-carrier” strategy, which has allowed the operator to make significant gains in the consumer and small-business markets, is now being applied to—and succeeding in—the enterprise market. Acquiring Shell as a customer is certainly a major coup for the operator. “Two years ago, we set out to break down pain points for small and mid-sized businesses,” said T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere, referring to Un-carrier for Business, launched in 2015, “but we quickly learned that—surprise—large enterprises want a great network at a great price, too.”
With this contract, T-Mobile US has added some 7,000 individual customers, making it a very large revenue opportunity. In such a situation, forgoing the revenue from international roaming is well worth it for the operator, considering the advantage of roam-like-home data (and texting) as a deal-sweetener for a large corporation with many of its personnel traveling frequently on business.
While T-Mobile touts the strength and coverage of its 4G/LTE network, working with Shell to boost coverage inside its buildings is also good strategy, given the extent to which signal blockage due to structures continues to be a problem for customers of all operators. Again, economies of scale make it possible to offer this kind of value-added customer service to an enterprise client.
For large MNOs, the personal-attention approach and money-saving incentives that have worked for small and medium businesses can also foster relationships with large corporations that have the potential to drive large amounts of revenue to operators.