Just when we were getting used to the WFH acronym for service provider work-from-home offerings, T-Mobile is offering a new one. T-Mobile WFX is a new offering that promotes a work-from-anywhere approach — and according to T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert, it’s a “huge growth opportunity” for the company.
Sievert made his comment on a webcast announcing T-Mobile WFX. T-Mobile WFX includes several components, but perhaps the most disruptive is what the company calls Enterprise Unlimited.
Rival mobile providers AT&T and Verizon have a combined 91% of the enterprise market, according to T-Mobile. Enterprise Unlimited hopes to change that by offering unlimited 4G and 5G service to enterprise customers for a price equivalent to what other carriers charge for limited plans, the company said.
The company does note in a press release, though, that “during congestion, customers with Enterprise Unlimited using more than 50 gigabytes of data per month may notice reduced speeds due to data prioritization.”
As Mike Katz, T-Mobile executive vice president for business, explained on the webcast, almost 50% of enterprises are on plans that include a limited monthly pool of data to be shared among employees. If combined usage exceeds a cap, the company must pay overage charges.
Predicting overall usage is difficult for companies that have thousands or even tens of thousands of employees, Katz said. And in an effort to avoid paying overage charges, some companies hire someone from “an entire cottage industry of consultants” who specialize in helping companies with their mobile phone bills.
Katz predicted that this will be an even bigger issue as business users increasingly use 5G connectivity.
“Businesses that are trapped on old plans are businesses that can’t seize first mover advantage” in adopting 5G applications, he added.
T-Mobile WFX has three key components. In addition to Enterprise Unlimited, these include T-Mobile Home Office and T-Mobile Collaborate.
T-Mobile Home Office is a fixed wireless connection that uses 4G and/or 5G. The company is positioning it as a high-security connection for people working from home. Other people in the household can use the connection simultaneously for non-business activities but the business-related activities have priority.
This offering would seem to have strong appeal at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has created a boom in people working from home. And even after COVID-19, T-Mobile expects 87% of businesses to have some people working from home three or more days per week.
To enable the service, T-Mobile sends a router to each work-from-home employee for self-installation.
For companies with geographically dispersed employees, the Home Office service has the added advantage of providing a single nationwide supplier for internet connectivity, T-Mobile said.
T-Mobile Collaborate is a cloud-based communications system from Dialpad, a company in the T-Mobile Ventures investment portfolio.
Some of T-Mobile’s pitch on this product touted benefits common to most cloud-based communications systems, such as the ability to eliminate outdated hardware and the ability to do videoconferencing. On the webcast, though, Mishka Dehghan, senior vice president of strategy, product, and solutions engineering for T-Mobile for Business, noted something more unusual: The service also can provide transcripts of conferences and uses artificial intelligence to identify action items.