My Blog

Interesting things in my head

February 28, 2020

Open Letter to T-Mobile CEO John Legere

This is a letter I wrote to T-Mobile CEO John Legere after weeks of frustration and issues trying to get my new Apple Watch to work with the T-Mobile network. Ultimatley, they told me my watch was the problem and had to be replaced.

After a quick trip to an AT&T store, I had ported my number to a new service plan there, and left with it and my watch service working. Keep an eye out for a blog post detailing the T-Mobile response, the incredibe lengths I had to go through to even get help at T-Mobile and how the end result prompted me to finally switch back to AT&T.

The Letter

Dear Mr. John Legere,

I have been a subscriber of T-Mobile service since I switched over from AT&T in April of last year. The service has been great, and it appeared that T-Mobile was in fact as customer centric as they promised. I was very happy with the service.

Your Twitter bio says that you are the “Megnta-wearing, customer-loving” CEO focused on “ending wireless pain points”

You identify as a CEO that is very customer centric and genuinely cares about the quality of service you provide for each of your subscribers. This is a rare quality in a CEO, and what has prompted this letter about a particularly painful experience I had while trying to use my new Apple Watch on your network.

I purchased a new Apple Watch with cellular and GPS functionality about a month ago. I was super excited to get this setup with my mobile plan. I followed the steps to activate the mobile network when I paired the watch with my phone, but that of course didn’t work.

After some Googling, I found out that I needed to contact T-Mobile support and provide them some identification numbers for the device. Chat support had a very long wait time so I called the 800 number and was connected with a representative almost immediately. I explained to the operator what I needed and provided the numbers he asked for. He then instructed me to unpair the watch, and try the pairing process on my phone again. We paired successfully and the watch appeared to be connected to the T-Mobile network. The DIGITS number was there, and it looked like everything had been setup properly.

After a while, I went for a jog and left my phone at home because my new watch had cellular functionality and was paired to my cellular network. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I was unable to use mobile data, so I wasn’t able to send messages or receive any notifications.

When I got back home, I called support again and explained what happened. This operator was incredibly friendly, and informed me that the watch was connected to the network, but hadn’t actually been activated yet. So she performed what I assume was the activation and told me that everything was good to go and that I wouldn’t have any problems with the watch or the T-Mobile network.

We disconnected the call and I tried to use the cellular network on the watch again. It still didn’t work. This is when I began to become frustrated with the lack of your company’s ability to help me get my device working. I stopped by a T-Mobile store, but all they could do was tell me to call the support number. Knowing that the support number was obviously not going to help, and that the store locations were only able to help you if you were buying things I went to Twitter to vent my frustrations.

The social media support team responded and I messaged with them for a bit about the trouble with my watch. Sarah was incredibly friendly and understanding. She checked a few things and noticed that the watch line was active, but was not showing up in the DIGITS Portal, which is unusual. She checked a few other things, then opened a ticket with the engineers. She said I should give them a few days to look into it, and then they’ll get back to me.

After a week of hearing nothing, I sent another message asking for an update. This time I got Dee, who was also friendly. He checked the ticket and informed me that the engineers had updated the ticket saying that there is no network problem in my area and it should work.

At this point I am completely frustrated by this incredibly disorganized, unhelpful support experience. I requested that the DIGITS line be removed from my account and explained my intentions to move to a different provider.

The takeaways from this experience:

  • T-Mobile is great if you only have phone lines

  • The customer support that T-Mobile prides itself on is very disorganized and only seems to be helpful when dealing with typical issues

  • If you end up at the mercy of T-Mobile for troubleshooting a problem, you are probably out of luck.

Please understand that I’m not switching because of the technical problems associated with adding my watch to your network. While all of your support operators were incredibly friendly, my motivation to switch stems directly from the lack of accurate support and the large amount of confusion that stems from what I can only imagine is a very disorganized support department that struggles from the challenges of communication within a distributed team.

Changing cell providers is a time consuming process that requires more money to be spent, and effort to set things up. I prefer to find a provider that I can trust, and is able to provide reliable support when needed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. My intent is to make this an open letter to you via my blog, but I wanted to send it to you personally before doing so.


Zac Brown