T-Mobile kicks off Grow LA for Metro prepaid

T-Mobile is kicking off an initiative to grow its Metro by T-Mobile prepaid brand in the Southern California market with a new project called Grow LA.

The initiative involves a multi-year sponsorship of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) as the official wireless partner, as well as store remodels, enhanced performance bonuses for authorized retailers and later this year, sales of T-Mobile postpaid service in select Metro by T-Mobile stores.

“As America’s most popular prepaid wireless brand, Metro by T-Mobile has the power to bring the game to life for fans in exciting ways while reinforcing our commitment to the Los Angeles community,” said T-Mobile Consumer Group President Jon Freier in a statement. “You’re going to see us showing up more than ever before, and we can’t wait to get started.”  

According to T-Mobile, it’s all part of its Grow LA plan to expand and reinvest in the LA market. In a letter to local Metro retailers that was shared with Fierce, T-Mobile SVP Terry Hayes outlined eight steps in the plan, including exclusive offers for Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego markets that provide new and existing customers with free calls to Mexico.

“We’ll be investing several million in local LA marketing to drive awareness, demand, and store traffic for you,” Hayes wrote. “Metro will become the destination for Soccer in LA, with our expanded Liga MX sponsorship and MLS Season Pass on Us, and more to come. Stay tuned!”

Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Anshel Sag said that since LAFC is well-known across MLS and Southern California, it makes sense to choose them for sponsorship. LAFC also has a lot of Mexican players, some of whom are household names in Mexico as national league team players, “so I think that’s also a component of why LA and why LAFC,” and explains why T-Mobile is testing the long-distance international calling feature to Lat/Am (including Mexico) for free, he said.

As for the store remodels, that’s an attempt to elevate the T-Mobile brand and use the Metro stores to convert people to postpaid from prepaid plans, especially considering the difference in ARPU between prepaid and postpaid, he said.

T-Mobile is using LA as a test market and will likely expand it outward toward the rest of Southern California and possibly Texas, Sag said. T-Mobile did not respond to Fierce’s question about expanding to other markets.

It's also worth noting that T-Mobile is already giving away MLS season streaming as part of its postpaid plan, “so I believe that T-Mobile sees the MLS as an undervalued marketing opportunity that will allow it to connect to the next generation of buyers and decision-makers,” Sag said.

New ad agency

Hayes issued a rallying cry of sorts, saying T-Mobile considers SoCal to be “our house,” and they won’t “stand idly by while others try to enter our house.” A meeting was planned at SoFi stadium today, where they were set to unveil the project.

T-Mobile this year also hired a new advertising agency for Metro by T-Mobile. The agency is OKRP, the team behind Burger King’s recent campaign. “We can’t wait to show you what this powerhouse team has in store to grow awareness, affinity, and sales for Metro,” Hayes said.

The letter didn’t explicitly say how but it promises that later this year, it will give dealers the ability to sell T-Mobile postpaid in select Metro by T-Mobile stores, “giving you a better way to migrate customers from pre to post while giving you an additional revenue stream.”

T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS in 2013 and renamed it Metro by T-Mobile. A couple years ago, dealers complained that T-Mobile was changing its policies since the merger with Sprint and not in a way that favored the dealers.