MetroPCS will revamp marketing campaign in Q3 2012

CHICAGO--Flat-rate operator MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) will be making some major changes to its marketing campaign and broadening its customer focus to include families in the third quarter of 2012. During a keynote address at the 4G World conference here, MetroPCS President and COO Tom Keys said that the company will make a major foundation change to the company's marketing focus once its LTE network is fully deployed, which he expects to occur in the third quarter of 2012.

Keys said that "fully deployed" means that there will be small cells deployed where needed in addition to improved backhaul capacity and LTE smartphones priced in the $100 range. "We will change our marketing in the later part of 2012," Keys said. "And it will be something different than what we have done for the first eight years."

Keys didn't give specifics on the changes, however, he did reiterate the phrase "LTE for All," which implies that the company will be broadening its target market beyond the current base. MetroPCS has always targeted value conscious consumers with its prepaid low-cost service. "We realize that we need to sell the virtues of the network and quality of the handset offerings to get people to move. We are going to change our campaign to make sure it will be inclusive," Keys said.

He added that families will be a viable market for MetroPCS, noting that 48 to 49 percent of all customers are now on family plans. "The family plan in a no-contract environment is a big growth area going forward."

Keys also noted that MetroPCS is spectrum constrained and knows it needs to acquire more. However, he stopped short of saying how the company plans to accomplish that. "We recognize that spectrum is the lifeblood of the industry," he said. "We understand we need more."

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that MetroPCS is the leading company to acquire assets AT&T (NYSE:T) may need to divest as a condition of its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

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