T-Mobile CEO on 2014 plans: 'Give AT&T a break... or not'

T-Mobile CEO on 2014 plans: 'Give AT&T a break... or not'

Summary: One of the more outspoken chief executives in the tech industry promised to "shake up" the wireless industry in 2013. And he did. Now he plans to "transform" it.

TOPICS: Networking
(Image: John Legere/Twitter)

If there's one thing T-Mobile chief executive knows what to, it's speaking his mind without much care for the consequences.

In a Twitter-based jibe to his wireless counterparts — specifically mobile giant AT&T — John Legere pledged as one of his New Year's resolutions to "transform the wireless industry."

Because clearly shaking it up in 2013 wasn't enough.

Legere, who has led the emerging fourth-place cellular company since September 2012, has overseen some of the biggest changes to the company — and as a result the U.S. wireless industry — in years.

In 2013 alone, he introduced a streamlined plan structure for new customers dubbed "Uncarrier," which all but killed off contracts and phone subsidies. Under his direction, T-Mobile then introduced the "Simple Choice" plan that brought into force unlimited international data roaming plans — something the wireless industry had been dining out on for years as a prime money-maker on business and international customers.

And, not content with that, the cellular giant brought out "Jump" which allowed customers to upgrade their phones twice a year — sending a clear message to Verizon and AT&T, whose policies require a two-year wait before their customers can upgrade, that such arbitrary rules were not an option. In just a few months, T-Mobile saw more than 2.2 million sign up for the service.

All at the same time T-Mobile transformed internally after its MetroPCS merger in the first half of the year. And Legere didn't even break a sweat.

Exactly what's on deck for T-Mobile in 2014 remains much of a mystery. That said, the picture Legere tweeted out suggests news coming out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) later this month, which could detail what's next in the fourth-version of its Uncarrier plans. 

Also rumors spinning from last year could signal T-Mobile's next big thing: paying the early termination fees of customers wanting switching from the cellular firm's rivals. Another possible ding to AT&T, which Legere said he could "give a break... or not."

Such a move could be considered a near-death blow for T-Mobile's rivals, which would see the firm essentially pay defectors to ditch their current carrier and head to T-Mobile.

Also on deck, Legere said 4G LTE will "go faster, go LOUD," suggesting a deeper roll-out across the U.S. The next-generation speeds began a rapid expansion early last year in seven major cities, and pushed further into more than a dozen in the following months.

There was no mention or hint of T-Mobile making a punt for Sprint though. Late last year, T-Mobile's chief financial officer Braxton Carter floated the merger boat, suggesting it was "not if, but when."

"Let the transformation begin," Legere tweeted. And so it shall be.

Topic: Networking

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If their service was better where I live!

    I would still be on with them. But when I would drive a mile down the road and have no service for an entire mile... that is not acceptable. It may be better since I have switched but I have not heard from people if its better or not in this area. With Verizon I go anywhere, and have service. Anywhere!
  • Perhaps they could end the current contracts?

    I signed a two year contract a few months before they did away with contracts. Doing so reduced my monthly payment from $90/month to $70/month (unlimited). It was not a phone subsidy (I bought the phone outright). Given their current unlimited plan is $70/month without contract why keep existing contracts? I don't plan to leave but it seems foolish to have a contract. The $200 ETF is a non-issue given I've saved over $200+ by having signed the contract. So even if I had to pay it I'm still ahead.

    I don't see myself moving away from T-Mobile any time soon. I'm very pleased with their current strategy. Just wondering why they don't eliminate the existing contracts as there's little value.
  • Go fast, go loud.. What does that even mean

    Ah, CEO doublespeak.

    Verizon and ATT were the fast deployers, heck, Verizon is already deploying a second LTE carrier (AWS). T Mobile needs to catch up.

    That said, I do like the way they have simplified their price plans/device upgrade policies.

    So far, it hasn't dented ATT or Verizon's subscriber numbers, but maybe that will change in 2014.
    • Don't know what that means...

      but I do know that TMobile has gotten a ton more new customers than both Verizon and AT&T in the last two quarters. The rates of growth have slowed for those two, but I don't think there's any definitive number on customers going to TMobile from the other two carriers.
  • Cheaper to pay the customer to switch

    Rather than pay Apple to keep you locked into a contract. ATT, what's the Apple exclusive worth now? Apple, where in the world will you find carriers willing to kick back 20% to your 60% margin on devices? It looks like the jig is up.
  • Been there, done that...

    Tried using T-Mobile for data.... not enough coverage. Sorry T-Mobile but I had to switch to at&t for my smartphone. Now a satisfied at&t customer.
  • Great Drive, T-Mobile, but...

    ... could you please, somewhere along your glorious way, abandon shameful scam of "voice mail roaming"?

    Small thing, really: say, you are on vacation enjoying Caribbean sun or Himalayan snows, and your phone suddenly rings; some dude back home wants to talk; you have no desire to interrupt your vacation, so you reject the call or simply don't pick up. Bam! You are charged, say, $4.99. Why? Because the dude was switched to your voice mail. If he simply hung up at that, you are charged $4.99. If the dude left you a three-minute message, you are charged $4.99 for each minute of it.

    So you come from vacation, look at your T-Mobile bill and go all Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot on it.

    The remedy is simple: just disable your VM service, nobody sane uses it these days anyway. But you never learn it beforehand, you need it to happen at least once, and this "once" leaves pretty bad taste in your mouth, because, after all, it's nothing but a shameful scam.

    So please, T-Mobile, abolish this relic of the times when you still were a "carrier"!
    • Hmmmm

      Sounds like you're living on the fringe ...
  • okkayy

    you know what i don't get,people are saying that t-mobile's changing the industry..and how? when you lease a phone you have to go through a credit check & when you lease a phone you have to pay a small amount every month for 24 months..isn't that still a contract?? at&t and verizon isn't responding because like someone said it's not effecting there huge subscribers base...at&t and verizon will take action if they see that this is effecting them in some way..and i honestly would like to know something,this articles saying something about t-mobiles paying people's early terminations fee's from other carriers if they switch.how would they make money doing that?? say if someone has like 6 or more lines on there account whether on at&t or verizon,thats gonna add up to alot of money that's coming out of t-mobiles pockets..