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T-Mobile just announced an expansion of its newly acquired Metro PCS to 15 markets, some of them heavily populated by Hispanics in Texas and California. AT&T recently acquired Leap Wireless (Cricket) and will strengthen and expand the Cricket brand. These wireless subscriber acquisition wars bode well for increased Hispanic Advertising expenditures. The wireless category is already among the top categories in Hispanic marketing.

T-MobileThe “wars” between wireless carriers to acquire subscribers are intensifying. T-Mobile bought Metro PCS back in May. Metro is becoming a prepaid arm for the newly minted T-Mobile US (though it still offers prepaid under the T-Mobile brand), much like Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile serve as Sprint’s prepaid
T-Moblie just announced  that it will expand Metro PCS footprint into 15 regions where it has never offered service before.

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Cleveland and Akron, Ohio
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Fresno, Calif.
  • Houston, Texas
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Rio Grande Valley, Texas
  • San Antonio and Austin, Texas
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.
  • Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio
  • Washington, DC

Of the above cited regions, several are heavily Hispanic particularly four regions in Texas  and the two markets in  California. UPDATED: Conill is T-Mobile’s media buying and planning agency. It is not clear yet whether it will also will take over the Metro PCS business.

AT&T Leap Wireless

In July AT&T acquired Leap Wireless (the owner of the Cricket  brand). As part of the deal, AT&T will be acquiring all of Leap’s towers, stores, and all 5.3 million of their subscribers, increasing AT&T’s subscriber count  from 107 million subscribers to 112 — still just behind Verizon in the battle for the biggest US carrier.

This gets us into those Leap markets now, arriving months in advance of AT&T,” MetroPCS Chief Operating Officer Tom Keys, told Bloomberg.

How the Wireless Subscriber Acquisition Wars impact Hispanic Advertising

Marketer/Media Agency

2012 Hispanic Advertising Expenditures (in US $ Millions)

Place in Overall Hispanic Advertiser Ranking

1. T-Mobile (Conill)

109.8

3

2. Verizon Communications (Zenith-Multicultural)

93.7

5

3. AT&T (GroupM-MediaCom)

92.5

6

4. Sprint (Digitas)

71.1

15

Source: Kantar Media and Portada

 T-Mobile was the third largest advertiser in the Hispanic market in 2012 with a US$ 110 million, according to Kantar Media. AT&T was the sixth largest with US$ 92.5 million in advertising expenditure. (Other Wireless market players include Verizon Communications on the fifth place (US$ 93.7 million)  and Sprint (US$ 71.1 million) on fifteenth place.

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U.S. number-four operator T-Mobile USA launched the GoSmart prepaid mobile brand  nationwide.  The launch signals a new entrant into the nationwide prepaid space.  The Hispanic population is an important customer in the prepaid space.  The GoSmart offering is now available at more than 3,000 wireless reseller stores around the country.   T-Mobile has been trialing the service since December and has signed up “tens of thousands” of customers. “It’s beat our projections pretty handily,” Doug Chartier, senior vice president of marketing for GoSmart, told Reuters.

Metro PCS merger

Mobile phonesThis is one of the first major initiatives of  T-Mobile after it announced its plans to merge with regional player  Metro PCS last year. The merger has still to be approved by U.S. regulators. T-Mobile  is a top 15 Hispanic market  advertiser. In 2011 it invested US$ 71.3 million in Hispanic network TV advertising. Conill is T-Mobile’s Hispanic Advertising Agency. 

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