T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360
The latest data breach that targeted T-Mobile is just one in a growing list of cybersecurity attacks that have occurred this year. But marketing experts and analysts say that it probably won’t be enough to persuade customers to switch carriers. Still, the company might have a harder time recruiting new users while the breach is in the news, with one analyst projecting T-Mobile might lose out on as many as 2 million new customers.
It can feel like a data breach happens every month – involving emails, gas lines, grocery stores, hospitals – to the point that it can be numbing to consumers, says Kimberly Whitler, an associate business professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
“Data breaches used to be shocking. Think back to the Target breach or the Yahoo breach in 2016,” Whitler says. “Now they’re sort of a part of modern life.”
In a note to investors on Wednesday, analysts at New Street Research estimated that T-Mobile could be losing out on 1-2 million new customers due to the breach.
“We are reminded of the Equifax leak, which involved a similar kind of data breach for around 163MM people (148MM Americans, 15MM UK) and resulted in fines for Equifax of up to $700MM,” the note said. “On similar math, T-Mobile’s leak of roughly 50MM customers would result in a fine of around $215MM.”
While T-Mobile may have to do more to persuade new customers, analysts say it’s unlikely that many current customers will switch.
“I suspect most consumers will shrug it off,” Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research, said via email. “By the time T-Mobile and others have reached the end of their investigations, consumer attention will have moved on. There seems to be a perception that most of this information is already out there from prior breaches. In general, consumers seem to care a good deal less about privacy and information security than I would expect.”
One brand’s misery is another brand’s fortune
Still, the breach is a rare opportunity for competitors of T-Mobile to reach out to customers who left for T-Mobile. It would not be surprising if those consumers start seeing more targeted emails or offers to return to other…