Per the COMvergence database, the Sprint and T-Mobile media business combined is worth $2.1 billion. Publicis Media currently controls the offline T-Mobile business, worth $810 million; Essence handles T-Mobile's digital duties, worth $200 million; and Horizon controlled the Sprint business, worth $1.1 billion, according to COMvergence estimates.
People close to the matter say Essence, Publicis Media and Horizon are going to compete in the review.
According to the request for proposal (RFP) obtained by Ad Age, T-Mobile is searching for an agency “that demonstrates creative problem solving, straightforward leadership, robust capabilities and practices diverse and inclusive thinking.”
“The winning agency will commit strong talent dedicated to T-Mobile who are not afraid to share their opinions, do not accept the status quo, who love to compete and ultimately deliver thought provoking ideas that are grounded in data,” the document states.
It continues, “The agency will be required to guarantee competitive commercial terms, financial transparency and will be held accountable for driving growth for T-Mobile.”
Publicis is T-Mobile's longtime agency of record. The account is handled by a bespoke team led by Publicis Seattle. The agency successfully defended its AOR status in a 2017 review. Also in 2017, Horizon won Sprint's media business from Publicis Groupe's Mediavest | Spark (now Spark Foundry).
In 2018, T-Mobile handed its digital media business to Essence from Publicis, while taking certain responsibilities including search, strategy and analytics in-house.
The review follows the completion of T-Mobile's $26.5 billion merger with Sprint in April, after a federal judge in February rejected claims from a group of state attorneys that the deal would present antitrust harm.