T-Mobile Offers Strong Incentives to Ditch Rival's Wireless Contracts

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-01-08 Print this article Print

He repeatedly referred to tests reporting that T-Mobile's LTE was faster for Web browsing; that users didn't need to worry about roaming fees when traveling; and that users could have new phones on their schedule, not the phone company's. This was a pitch to Millennials and others in younger free-spending age groups that marketers salivate over.

But Legere also disparaged the major carriers in their corporate soft spots. He ridiculed them for their expensive plans, their limits on choice and their inflexibility. He was, in effect, the un-carrier personified as the counter-culture CEO. He got so worked up in his presentation that a reporter from the Boston Globe asked him, "John, what has happened to you?"

Legere has, it would seem, done what so few CEOs succeed in doing; He has drunk his own Kool-Aid. He has become what he exhorts others to become—a true believer in his own brand.

By doing this, Legere and T-Mobile have become something that no one believed could happen two years ago when the company emerged beaten from a protracted merger mess. The company has become a transformative force in the wireless industry effectively making the much larger players dance to T-Mobile's tune.

And the larger carriers will have no choice. If, as seems likely, wireless customers—especially those lucrative family plan customers—start heading to T-Mobile by the tens of thousands, the die will have been cast. Wireless companies will no longer be able to conduct business as usual. Except for specialized circumstances or for customers with major corporate contracts, it's hard to see how they will fight T-Mobile without offering to reward customer loyalty with significant concessions.

And ultimately, that seemed to be the goal of T-Mobile as Legere sees it. He said that the time will come when T-Mobile isn't the fourth-largest carrier, or the second or the third. Legere made it clear that his goal is the big one—to become the largest carrier in the United States.

While he didn't exactly say how he would pull this off, he did say that it would take time and he plans to achieve that kind of growth. He also didn't say whether T-Mobile was going to take over Sprint on its way to the top. But you could tell he was thinking about it.


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