With 4M business and government customers, T-Mobile eyes tablets for growth

T-Mobile USA, the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier, said it now counts 4 million business and government customers on its network. Further, the carrier hopes to boost that number with the release of additional wireless devices, including tablets.

"We've got a host of tablets we'll be coming out with," said Marc Rohleder, director of business sales engineering at T-Mobile. Rohleder said T-Mobile's sales of tablets to enterprise users to date have been "as we believed it would be," and that tablet sales are contingent on businesses integrating the devices into their operations and back-end systems.

Rohleder, who works with "hundreds" of T-Mobile sales reps targeting businesses and government customers, said the carrier sells a range of devices through its B2B channel, including non-camera BlackBerry smartphones, Android smartphones and other connected devices like USB modems. In tablets, he said T-Mobile sells the LG G-Slate and the Dell Streak 7, and it recently released the HTC Flyer Android tablet.

"We've already had some sales of the Flyer," Rohleder said, explaining that the device, which includes a stylus, allows users to capture signatures and mark up images. "That's really why we saw this as a compelling product to bring to our enterprise sales channels."

"We expect far more" Flyer sales, he said.

And what about the Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? "We've seen minimal success there," Rohleder said, pointing to RIM's quarterly PlayBook figures that showed a precipitous drop in tablet shipments.

T-Mobile, on the other hand, is seeing "very positive momentum" in tablets, he said.

In smartphone sales to government and enterprise users, Rohleder said T-Mobile continues to sell a range of BlackBerry smartphones, but he noted that sales of Android devices continue to grow. He declined to provide exact sales figures for the competing operating systems.

Rohleder said T-Mobile plans to expand its range of enterprise offerings soon with a new "access service" that will include Wi-Fi functions. He declined to provide specifics. T-Mobile recently announced its Wi-Fi Calling for Government technology, which allows users to conduct voice and data communications on their existing T-Mobile device using Wi-Fi in areas where macro networks are down--such as during a natural disaster. 

T-Mobile ended the second quarter with a total of 33.6 million wireless customers.

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