T-Mobile on the Hunt for Social-Media Shop

Search Comes Amid Pending $39 Billion Deal With AT&T

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Hot on the heels of T-Mobile USA's proposed $39 billion sale to AT&T, T-Mobile is ramping up its digital efforts with a review for a social media agency of record, people close to the situation say.

T-Mobile did not respond to requests for comment. But people close to the review say the Bellevue, Wash.-based telecom, which is owned by German Deutsche Telekom, will likely pour significant resources into the initiative. The scope of work could include social-media management, app development and web design, one executive familiar with the pitch told Ad Age . The work could also touch upon media strategy related to social media platforms.

The company's agency roster includes Publicis, Seattle, for creative work and Waggener Edstrom for public relations among a number of other firms.

A majority of the company's social-media resources exist within the corporate-communications department. This could be mean mean PR partner Waggener's Studio D practice has a shot at the T-Mobile social business. The firm declined to comment, but it wouldn't be the first time an agency that 's not a digital specialist pitched for and won this type of business.

Volkswagen recently hired PR firm Edelman, which had pitched against digital specialists like AKQA, and last week, McCann Erickson beat a number of digital firms to the Weight Watchers social media account.

Like most marketers, T-Mobile's has tried to boost its social-media presence in the past couple of years, including improvements to its YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook sites, as well as the recent launch of a corporate blog and last year's addition of Dan Anderson to manage social media.

It's not clear whether or not the pending AT&T deal has played a role in the decision to bring on a social-media AOR. However, T-Mobile has yet to retire commercials that bash the iPhone and AT&T. In March, T-Mobile spokesman Reid Walker told Ad Age via email that "The ads continue to evolve as planned."

In 2010, T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom spent $582 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

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