T-Mobile Names John Legere As New CEO

John Legere takes the CEO role at T-Mobile as the carrier is mid-transformation. By 2013, T-Mobile will have LTE, hopefully an iPhone, and a CEO ready to go the distance.

T-Mobile has announced Sept. 22 that industry veteran John Legere will fill its open CEO. Interim-CEO Jim Alling plans to return to his role of chief operating officer.

Legere, 54, is a marathon runner and the former CEO of Global Crossing, a worldwide Internet services provider. Under his direction, said T-Mobile, Global Crossing "completed the world's first integrated global IP-based network, achieved near-perfect network operations and significantly improved customer satisfaction."

Before Global Crossing, Legere was CEO of a joint venture with Microsoft, a senior vice president at Dell and a senior executive at AT&T, where his roles included President of AT&T Asia.

"As T-Mobile moves forward with its strategic initiatives to improve its market position, including expanding its network coverage and initiating LTE service, John has obviously the right skillset to lead the business into the future," said René Obermann, CEO of T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom.

T-Mobile's last CEO, Philipp Humm, resigned June 27, with plans to return to his family in Europe (said T-Mobile) and oversee Northern and Central European coverage areas for Deutsche Telekom rival Vodafone.

Legere takes on the mantle as T-Mobile undergoes a considerable network upgrade that includes a rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which will enable it to support the Apple iPhone. T-Mobile's lack of an iPhone has contributed to its falling revenues and customer losses. Last week, it was the only top-four network left out of Apple's iPhone 5 announcement.

Technology Business Research (TBR) analyst Eric Costa has forecast that several important factors will come together for T-Mobile in 2013, but not before then.

"T-Mobile is in the middle of a company-wide restructuring, including a new post strategy, new leadership and a network modernization project," Costa wrote in an Aug. 9 report. These, he said, "will not have time to positively influence the company's results in [the second half of 2012]."

Its first-quarter 2013 deployment of LTE and its refarming of spectrum for use in its LTE deployments, however, should provide "sufficient network improvements that will help retain subscribers and slow revenue loss," said Costa.

The rather inevitable addition of an iPhone to the network will also help to boost T-Mobile's data revenues, according to Costa. Though while competitors such as Sprint have used the iPhone to attract new subscribers, for T-Mobile the iPhone will help with the task of keeping current subscribers in place.

T-Mobile's growth efforts were also slowed by the nine months of 2011 that it spent in limbo, as AT&T worked to persuade the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow it to purchase T-Mobile. T-Mobile executives testified before a Senate sub-committee that the carrier didn't have the funds to roll out LTE and so wouldn't be able to effectively compete in the current market.

Ultimately, it was the denial of the acquisition that enabled T-Mobile to begin its network refresh, as its contract with AT&T included a consolation prize of sorts—a portion of spectrum and nearly $4 billion—if the deal were to not go through. On Feb. 23, Humm announced T-Mobile's plans to spend $4 billion on network upgrade that will include LTE, improvements to voice and data coverage, the pursuit of new business-to-business opportunities, the expansion of T-Mobile's sales force, and new advertising investments.

Legere said in a statement that he is thrilled to join T-Mobile at "such a pivotal time." He added, "T-Mobile is taking a number of significant steps to revitalize the business and I look forward to leading our team and partners to accelerate these efforts to become a force in our industry."

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