John Horn, T-Mobile's former head of M2M, is taking over as president of Raco, which will run all of T-Mobile's M2M new business development and operational support. T-Mobile will only provide the network connectivity and support its existing partners that opt not to switch to Raco's business model, while Raco will seek out new partners and run the day-to-day business.
Horn, who has been leading the charge on M2M at T-Mobile for the past nine years, says the change is all about making T-Mobile easiest to do business with and speeding up time to market for new partners. "We are very aggressive and flexible, but at the same time sometimes you can't move as quickly on a large corporation," Horn says of acquiring new customers. "Now, we will be able to respond quickly to the needs of the market."
The carrier contemplated an acquisition of its partner in what has been a yearlong process, he says, but decided outsourcing made the most sense. Terms of the agreement, which is not exclusive to T-Mobile, were not announced.
Why this matters
T-Mobile has been one of the most bullish carriers on M2M, but it looks to be adjusting to life as a pipe provider. The carrier also has a deal with startup SignalSet to let the vendor's customer use both its GSM network and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s CDMA network. (See SignalSet Hops Out of Stealth Mode .) The reason that it's backing away from M2M could be because if AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s acquisition is approved, it will automatically have the largest M2M customer base in the U.S., adding hundreds of thousands of connected devices to its network. The need to devote its time and energy to the space becomes much less pressing. (See CTIA 2011: M2M Picks Up Momentum.)
Seeing that its wireless business continues to suffer, what's more pressing is the need to refocus on its core wireless business and on retaining customer as it waits to become part of Ma Bell. (See T-Mobile Suffers in Competitive US Wireless Biz and US Wireless Q1 Scorecard .)
T-Mobile has been outspoken on M2M, pitching its HSPA+ network as well suited for enterprise connectivity. Here's more on its role in the big market for tiny machines.
- T-Mobile USA Boosts M2M, HSPA+
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- M2M: Where WiMax Meets Lindsay Lohan
- ARPU Is Dead
- AT&T: What's Moving M2M?
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile