Editors in Chief Alex Tuck and Lucy Buchholz embarked on BizClik Media Group’s first overseas trip since COVID-19 to meet with T-Mobile’s Mike Simpson and Stephanie Owen. Lucy tells us how they got on.
I’m not afraid to admit that, when stepping onto the plane, I was reminiscent of my five-year-old self – both Alex Tuck and I were so happy to be representing BizClik Media Group internationally for the first time since our good friend COVID-19 came to town. What’s more, it was exciting to know that we were on our way to visit the T-Mobile US headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, to meet with some of the most influential leaders in the tech business.
The centre of the T-Mobile world
The T-Mobile office can be summed up in one word: magenta.
As you walk through the reception doors, you’re greeted by a gigantic magenta ‘T’ that literally screams for visitors to have a photoshoot. Alex and I, of course, took full advantage of this opportunity, as you can see below.
And the vibrant colouring continues throughout, with comfortable (and very Instagramable) egg-shaped seats, state-of-the-art light-up columns and a cosy fire-lit room for visitors to relax in – it seems that no detail was overlooked.
Which brings us to the bathrooms. I know, it may sound like I’m letting my excitement get way too ahead of me, but have you ever visited a bathroom which has magenta jellyfish? (And heated toilet seats?) Because I now have.
Experiencing life in the T-Mobile future
The first item on our ‘to-do’ list was to have a tour of the 5G&me Experience Center. And I can safely say that the friendly folk at T-Mobile majorly exceeded our expectations.
We were shown a futuristic tech playground that made both Alex and I speechless – and anyone who knows Alex Tuck will understand that that’s a hard thing to achieve. We were then asked to answer a series of preferential questions to decipher our likes and dislikes. This generated personalised avatars (I was a puffin, Alex a bear) which followed us through the experience for us to interact with.
We were led into a spaceship, formally known as a 360-degree immersive dome. I can only describe it as being dropped into the middle of a television screen, as we were fully surrounded by a film reel and audio, explaining how 5G can – and will – shape the future.
Once we were brought back down to Earth and led out of the spaceship, we headed towards a magenta-lit, mirrored wall display. Here, our hosts explained more about T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G network and how it now covers well over 200 million people across the US. We also discovered that it’s the first standalone 5G network, built on the back of the phenomenal Spectrum system that gives T-Mobile a unique competitive advantage.
Our final activity was to take a (stationary) ride in one of T-Mobile’s autonomous transportation cars. But this was a car like no other – there was no steering wheel, the seats faced each other and there was a giant interactive table in the middle. Here, our avatars came into play, as the car was pre-programmed to know and respond to our favourite activities. For example, on my way to work, the car could automatically stop at my favourite coffee shop, and would alert me if there were any nearby yoga classes for me to join. As a far more practical alternative to flying cars, it’s clear that this is the future of transportation.
Learning T-Mobile’s perspectives
After a brief lunch at T-Mobile’s food court (which served everything you could wish for, from pizza and burritos to tofu and frozen yoghurt), we headed back to work to prepare for the main events: meeting Mike Simpson, Chief Procurement Officer and Stephanie Owen, Vice President Enterprise Procurement & Data Insights.
Mike was up first, to discuss the unique nature of T-Mobile's Procurement teams with Alex – the exclusive interview will feature in the March issue of Technology Magazine. They covered a number of topics, including the Warriors4Wireless nonprofit career development programme, the company’s much-loved ‘Coffee with Mike’ sessions and the Towers Family Foundation.
Mike also explained the fundamentals behind T-Mobile being the Un-carrier. The brand strives to be in a completely different league from its competitors who are all formerly landline based – T-Mobile has always been 5G.
Finally, it was Stephanie’s time to shine – and she definitely didn’t disappoint. I had the privilege of interviewing her, and taking a deep dive into her career history to understand the steps she had taken to arrive at where she is today. Stephanie will also be March8’s first ever cover star, so I was very grateful that she shared her life lessons and experiences to help inspire girls and women to pursue a career in the technology sector.
And that was the end to our first fantastic day at T-Mobile US headquarters. Busy, futuristic and very, very magenta.
Alex and I would like to thank the whole team for providing us with a phenomenal experience, and exceptional hospitality throughout our time in Seattle.