T-Mobile gears up Android marketing effort to battle iPhone 4S

Now that it remains the only Tier 1 U.S. carrier without access to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, T-Mobile USA is embarking on a marketing blitz to highlight its high-end smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform and the advantages of being a premier Android carrier.

T-Mobile Android iPhone

"Look out, iPhone 4S--meet the rock stars of our Android-powered lineup," T-Mobile touts on its Android website.

The strategy is born of necessity now that Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) has joined larger rivals Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) in offering Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S. However, T-Mobile aims to lure customers away from iPhones and to its network by highlighting its fast HSPA+ 42 network as well as the benefits of Android as a platform, according to Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile's senior vice president of marketing.

The new push from T-Mobile began in the middle of September with the launch of a special website dedicated to highlighting Android phones on T-Mobile and the benefits of Android as an open-source platform. It is kicking into a higher gear this week with the launch of T-Mobile's first HSPA+ 42 smartphones, the HTC Amaze and Samsung Galaxy S II, which will go up against the iPhone 4S launching Friday.

"We obviously saw it coming and want to tell the story that we have an awesome and compelling 4G mobile Internet experience," Sherrard said in an interview with FierceWireless, noting that the new HSPA+ 42 phones are showing average downlink speeds approaching 8 Mbps with peak speeds around 20 Mbps. "Android is clearly our big bet."

T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 network is now in more than 150 markets covering 170 million POPs, and the company's HSPA+ 21 network covers 205 million POPs.

Sherrard said T-Mobile will be more aggressive than it has been in the past in highlighting the benefits of Android through social media, online advertising and, as the holiday season draws near, in TV advertisements as well. "One of the things we need to do is talk about how the platform of Android is actually a great and compelling experience. When you're in an open ecosystem you get better technology that moves to market more quickly. And you get more choices on how that technology is applied."

The marketing strategy comes as continued uncertainty hovers over T-Mobile's fate connected to AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of the company, which the Department of Justice has challenged on antitrust grounds. Sherrard said the company is focused on drawing sharper contrasts with the iPhone and marketing itself as providing "amazing technology at a phenomenal price."

So far this year, on average 75 percent of the devices T-Mobile has sold have been smartphones and 90 percent of those run Android. While Sherrard said Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone and Research in Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry will be part of its smartphone offerings, the focus will be on Android. "We have to talk to them about what they can do with Android." 

For more:
- see this T-Mobile site

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