Acquiring Mint will provide T-Mobile with valuable expertise
Following the news that T-Mobile US intends to acquire Ka’ena and its subsidiaries Mint Mobile, Ultra Mobile, and wholesaler Plum in a deal worth up to $US1.35 billion.
Tammy Parker, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, offers her view:
“Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile will shift from being mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to become T-Mobile-owned digital sub-brands, existing alongside Metro by T-Mobile, T-Mobile branded prepaid and Connect by T-Mobile, and contributing their own subscriber bases to boost T-Mobile’s overall prepaid rolls, which reached 21.6 million subscribers in 2022. However, there is much more to this transaction.
“Mint Mobile has become a standout success as a digital, direct-to-consumer wireless brand, with customers primarily dealing with the carrier via its app and online presence. Mobile brands worldwide are shifting towards digitalization to reduce their go-to-market costs, as having full-featured apps and digital self-service tools enables customers to sign up for service or change their rate plans quickly and seamlessly without the need for an in-store visit or call to telesales, with the simplified process often resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
“Acquiring Mint will provide T-Mobile with valuable expertise in digital branding, sales and customer care that it can expand upon with its other brands. However, because customers increasingly seek hybrid shopping and customer care experiences, T-Mobile is expected to also expand the presence of both Mint and Ultra across its distribution footprint.
“Mint is known for its quirky promotions and messaging, something T-Mobile likely will maintain on some level as actor Ryan Reynolds, a minority owner in Mint, will continue providing creative input in addition to acting as Mint’s spokesman. Mint’s 2021 holiday card came with a paper cutout showing ‘Ryan on an Island’, a knockoff of the popular ‘Elf on a Shelf’ tradition, while 2022’s holiday mailer included a temporary tattoo featuring a sketch of Reynolds’ face and the words, ‘No Ragrets Switching to Mint Mobile’. It’s little things like that which have made a difference in Mint’s positioning as a fun, relatable brand. T-Mobile itself is no stranger to unique marketing efforts, so the marriage of these companies will be a natural fit.
“The planned transaction should face less regulatory scrutiny than T-Mobile’s previous acquisitions of MetroPCS and Sprint because Mint and Ultra do not have their own mobile networks. Additionally, Plum is a mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) that has worked closely with T-Mobile to offer turnkey programs to other MVNOs that want to ride on T-Mobile’s network. Plum will bring additional competence to T-Mobile in attracting additional third-party brands that can leverage its underlying 5G network.”