T-Mobile introduced a new brand this week called Bobsled. Much of the attention around Bobsled revolves around its Facebook calling application which provides a free voice calling application for the social network. But the move is bigger than just Facebook.
Bobsled is an attempt to bridge traditional telecommunications services with a generation who now views voice service as an application to be available on any platform. This generation wants to be connected on their terms, regardless of where they are and what device they are using. Service providers who can best meet that expectation stand to win.
Will Bobsled meet this new expectation? Too early to tell, but kudos to T-Mobile for making the effort. T-Mobile intends to introduce other applications through Bobsled.
Their first one allows Facebook users to create a voice chat through the social networking platform, by using a click to call type function. There is no need to dial. The application also allows friends to leave voice messages on their friend’s ‘wall.’ Think of it as Facebook Voicemail.
Facebook may not be so enthused with the application, at least as it currently works. Soon after the Bobsled release, Facebook started limiting its functionality. “Currently Facebook is limiting part of Bobsled’s capabilities. Thanks for being patient while we get back on track,” was posted on Bobsled’s Facebook page several times as people commented about troubles with the new app. I suspect this will get worked out, but it does illustrate the development difficulty in today’s fast moving app culture.
T-Mobile is allowing anyone to use the service, not just T-Mobile customers. The idea of course is to get people using Bobsled and build significant brand awareness and equity, which can be leveraged later by T-Mobile in a variety of ways.
“Our new Bobsled brand will evolve in the coming months to provide even more ways for people to connect, no matter what platform, device or mobile provider they are using,” said Brad Duea, senior vice president, T-Mobile USA in a press release.
It will be interesting to watch how AT&T embraces this movement, when/if their pending merger closes.