T-Mobile adds military to growing list of targeted market segments

T-Mobile's latest plan targets members of the military and their families. (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile today announced a new pricing option for those in the military, a further indication that the carrier will continue to target specific market segments and demographics with select promotions.

Specifically, T-Mobile said its new T-Mobile ONE Military pricing plan offers military, their families and their small businesses 20% off a first line of service and half off up to five additional voice lines. The carrier said that represents a discount of $665 per year for a family of four when compared with similar plans from AT&T and $764 compared with similar plans from Verizon. T-Mobile added that its ONE Military plan also offers half off Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ or S8 Active phones.

T-Mobile’s launch of its new plans for military coincides with the company’s pledge to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years, fund a career readiness program and expand LTE coverage around U.S. military bases.

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(It’s worth noting T-Mobile isn’t the only operator to focus on the military specifically. For example, MVNO Defense Mobile launched in 2013 targeting active and retired military and their families, though the operation stopped accepting new customers in 2016 and its website is now shut down.)

The military promotion essentially represent T-Mobile's third clearly targeted market segment. Company executives have pointed to T-Mobile’s targeted offers for people over 55 years old and for business users, two of its efforts to expand into select market areas. They promised the carrier would continue to segment out different areas with targeted promotions.

“Our job is to look for ways to keep the growth going without creating increased competitive intensity in what’s already a pretty competitive market. So that’s the best return. So, it’s all about expansion: geographic expansion is a piece of it, and also segment expansion,” explained T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert earlier this year. “This unlimited 55+ offer we brought to market has been fantastic because it’s really going after prime AT&T and Verizon customers, and giving them a tipping point to finally switch.”

Indeed, Verizon recently launched a similar offering in Florida for customers who are 55 years old and over that provides a single line of unlimited service for $60 per month or two lines for $80 per month.

T-Mobile executives have said that those kinds of demographic-specific offers are part of how T-Mobile expects to gain 2-3 million customers during 2018.

T-Mobile’s efforts to expand its network and target new market segments will help propel the carrier’s first-quarter results, according to the Wall Street analysts at Cowen. The firm said it expects the carrier to notch an industry-leading 623,000 postpaid net additions during the period.

“Mobile is typically highly aggressive in 1Q and that pattern continued, though we trim our postpaid phone add estimates considering 1) a more aggressive AT&T that seems to be looking to preserve/grow the sub base ahead of TWX, 2) no un-carrier initiatives in the quarter, and 3) a less distinguishing Samsung S9,” the analysts wrote in a report Tuesday.

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