• Deal looks to have preserved and expanded vendor’s longstanding device protection engagement with TMUS.
  • Supplier, with former TMUS CFO Braxton Carter on board, cites long-term growth focus of partnership.

Assurant doubles up with New T-Mobile

Assurant doubles up with New T-Mobile

Source: T-Mobile US

While many of T-Mobile US’s (TMUS) ecosystem partners remained in rear-guard mode following the operator’s April 2020 takeover of Sprint, specialist insurance services player Assurant looked to have quickly jumped on a one-off supplier consolidation opportunity and expanded its account.

Alan Colberg, President & Chief Executive of Assurant, briefly flagged a device protection win across both the Sprint and TMUS customer bases during the provider’s latest quarterly earnings presentation, for the three months to 30 June 2020.

Citing the move as an example of how Assurant had apparently, during the quarter, “continued to deepen our partnerships with market leaders to drive long-term profitable growth”, he said he was “pleased to announce that, as Sprint becomes part of T-Mobile, we’ll offer device protection to those NewT-Mobile customers”. “We believe this is another example to support the long-term growth of our Connected Living business, and we are proud of our longstanding partnership with T-Mobile”, Colberg added.

Assurant has long been a key enabler of the premium handset protection services that TMUS has developed to attract and retain users, as part of its Un-Carrier commercial strategy. It last secured a renewal of the relationship in 2019, growing its engagement beyond TMUS’s main user base and to customers of the NatCo’s MetrobyT-Mobile prepaid brand (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #63 and #82).

Colberg had previously assured the vendor was “well positioned” to maintain its account with TMUS in the run-up to integration of Sprint’s operations and supplier arrangements (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #73).

Carter got

Probably doing Assurant no harm going forward is the recent addition of former TMUS Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter to the vendor’s Board of Directors (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #95). Carter was unveiled in the new role on 2 July 2020, the day after his time at TMUS ended.

Ooma setback highlights New T-Mobile relationship pressures

For TMUS’s supplier base in general, it remains clear that the Sprint takeover and COVID-19 crisis have combined to create a highly unpredictable and difficult to manage environment.

As well as being forced to defend relationships threatened by the integration process, many vendors appeared to see planning clouded by the uncertainty and delays TMUS experienced when pushing for approval of the deal (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #92 and passim). Since coronavirus, meanwhile, TMUS has indicated accelerated cost cutting within purchasing will be one of the ways it seeks to protect profitability during the crisis.

While ripples from the merger are spreading far and wide, Silicon Valley-based voice-over-IP player Ooma is one vendor that has flagged a knockback as part of TMUS’s partner consolidation exercise.

Speaking during Ooma’s latest results presentation, Chief Executive Eric Stang said his “understanding” was that TMUS “intends to focus on a more narrow portfolio” in the business space, and is therefore set to wind down a recent tie-up between the vendor and Sprint. Through this rationalisation, he said, the operator “does not plan to continue selling SprintOmni”, a cloud-based, small- and medium-size enterprise (SME)-focused communications service that debuted in late-2019, based on Ooma’s OomaOffice solution.

Ooma will, however, retain links with TMUS as they have a separate partnership, formed earlier in 2020, through which the NatCo’s 4G network powers OomaConnect, a fixed-wireless-based broadband and telephony service for SMEs. “Our relationship remains in place and T-Mobile will continue to power OomaConnect. We are also jointly exploring other possibilities between our two organisations”, added Stang.

Ooma had previously signalled a “cautious outlook” towards its twin relationship with the NewT-Mobile, stressed Stang.

The results, for the three months to 31 July 2020, saw Ooma record an 11% rise in revenue, although it did not pull out any numbers for SprintOmni or OomaConnect. Regarding the latter, which launched a few days after the Sprint–TMUS merger completed in early-April 2020, Stang said the business had “hundreds of customer accounts using OomaConnect”.