April 19, 2014

34 Weeks of OHA #29

Company Name: T-Mobile

How the OHA site classifies them: Mobile Operator

What the OHA site says about them: Serving more than 112 million mobile customers in Europe and the U.S., T-Mobile is one of the world’s leading companies in mobile communications, and the mobile telecommunications subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG.

What they do: The T stands for “Teutonic”.

No, that’s not right. The T stands for “Telekom”, which is like “Telecom” but much more Teutonic. The Mobile stands for “Mobile” which is exactly like “Mobile”. T-Mobile is the Teutonic Mobile Telecom company. This means they’re German, so they probably have a higher standard of loving than you and are generally more efficient.

They’re a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, the largest telecommunications company in the EU. Interestingly, the “eu” in Deutsche is pronoiunced “oi”, the “eu” in Teutonic is pronounced “ü”, and the “eu” in EU is pronounced “Ee-you”. I know, I know… this stuff is hard to keep track of; that’s why I’m here.

According to Wikipedia, T-Mobile is actually a group of subsidiaries offering mobile networks, both GSM and UMTS, all over Europe and the US. Over 100 million customers, 36 million of them in Germany, makes it the 3rd largest mobile conglomerate in the world, and the 30 million US customers makes it the 4th largest provider in America. T-Mobile USA was previously known as VoiceStream Wireless, and was acquired by Deutshe Telekom in 2001 for $50 billion.

T-Mobile has a trademark on the colour Magenta. Seriously. That’s why I was forced to surrender my pants.

What they bring to OHA and Android:

They brought us the G1. Well, not just them…

The buzz started a few months ago: T-Mobile would be the first to release an Android phone. As time went on, more and more rumours surfaced that seemed to confirm the fact.

The announcement came, as I’m sure you know, just last week. The T-Mobile G1 with Google, built by HTC (the “Dream”), will be released in the US on Oct 22. In an attempt to equal Apples’ media blitz savvy, a press conference was put together featuring luminaries from the three companies directly involved: Google, HTC, and T-Mobile. Attendees were given the chance to play with the new device. The event and the announcement became the biggest bit of tech news so far this season. For anybody who’s been following Android since the OHA announcement last November, it was all leading up to this specific moment. And it delivered — I haven’t felt gadget lust this bad since Tickle-Me Elmo.

But why T-Mobile? I mean, obviously someone had to be the first carrier out of the gate. Why not Sprint, or DoCoMo? I think there are two main reasons:

First is the fact that T-Mobile has international coverage that none of the other network operators in the OHA can claim. Its user base spread across a dozen countries gives Android a penetration and distribution infrastructure no other OHA member could provide.

Second, the history of collaberation between HTC and T-Mobile must have helped. This isn’t the first HTC phone T-Mobile has released (Mogul, Dash, etc.) HTC and T-Mobile are friends.

This platform – the “Dream”, also known as the “hardware reference device” — has been floating around the Android offices for quite some time now. Just recently we discovered that HTC and Google have been discussing this collaberation for some five years, and working properly on it for three. When it came time for the two of them to choose the thrid member of their triumvirate it seems natural that they go for the partner with an international presence and with whom at least one of them has an established working relationship.

Besides, if you want a release like this to go well, what it really needs is a little German engineering.

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