T-Mobile, Shakira Shake Up Telecom



T-Mobile is looking to grow its international appeal (particularly among Hispanic consumers, who may be traveling to different countries) through a new initiative of eliminating extra data fees in more than 100 countries and partnering with recording artist Shakira. 

“This brand likes to do things differently, and shake things up, and we wanted to go public with that,” Peter DeLuca, T-Mobile’s senior vice president of brand and advertising, tells Marketing Daily. “Our brand is highly multicultural. Probably one-third of our business comes from Hispanic customers.”

The company kicked off the initiative with a free concert in New York’s Bryant Park featuring Shakira, whom T-Mobile has signed to a multi-year partnership that includes promoting the singer’s upcoming single and album, content creation and a number of special events for the public as well as unique fan-engagement promotions. 

“She’s a highly collaborative artist, and really wants to do this with us,”  DeLuca says. “The fact that she can has a strong appeal with the Hispanic population and a growing appeal in the general market ... it’s an intersection that appeals to us.”

Noting that American phone users can rack up thousands of dollars in extra data charges when traveling abroad, T-Mobile will soon be introducing unlimited data and texting in more than 100 companies around the world. In addition, the company will offer discounted calling and texting to those countries for $10 a month. 

The company will begin promoting these features through a television and digital campaign that depicts two young men backpacking through Europe unaware of the high roaming charges they’re racking up as they text, send pictures and use travel apps. A digital component will enable consumers to follow the two travelers and get clues to their location. If consumers have an idea where the travelers are, they can submit a guess for a chance to win a trip around the world. 

“The whole thing is playing into how consumers use the multi-platforms,” DeLuca says. “Having recently been in Europe with my own son, I know how hard it is to tear them away.”

T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to offer unlimited data and texting internationally, although it’s possible other carriers will follow suit (as many did with phone upgrade programs earlier this year). If so, DeLuca says the company is not concerned about others following T-Mobile’s lead. 

“[Our thinking is] ‘Go first and be bolder than your competition,’” he says. “When you’re the number four carrier, you’ve got to be bolder than anyone else.”

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