T-Mobile’s new man in charge John Legere is quickly becoming a vastly different CEO than T-Mobile has had in recent memory. In fact, some of his remarks last night during his company’s keynote border on either amazingly refreshing or obscene depending on your point of view. I’m very much in the “his comments are incredibly refreshing camp.” To call Legere charismatic would be putting it mildly. To say he is the polar opposite of the more stern-faced and serious ex-CEO Philip Humm would be monumentally true.
Hat tip to Sascha Segan from PCMag for putting this together.
On AT&T: “Does anyone use AT&T in New York City? Is anyone satisfied with their service? Of course not. The network’s crap.”
Shared Data Plans: “A 5-gigabyte, 10-device shared data plan, when Joe Schmoe Jr. starts to watch porn on his phone, isn’t gonna work.”
On T-Mobile’s place in the industry: “If you thought we went away, if you thought T-Mobile wasn’t going to be a significant player in this industry, think again.”
On Sprint’s LTE Network rollout: “You mean when Sprint announced it, and then they announced that they were behind, and then they announced the two markets they would announce later?”
On Verizon: “The way they covered those dust bowl states with LTE, I think, is admirable… they have a beautiful network, incredible capability. They spent more money than a small nation building out that network. But shared data plans are a thing of the past. A 10-gigabyte, 5-device shared data plan, when Joe Schmoe Junior starts to watch porn on his phone, isn’t going to work.”
On How We Buy Phones: “If you landed from Mars on this planet and you looked at the way people sell to customers in this industry, you would go back to where you came from. The CEO of Verizon said in one of his quotes, ‘I’m just not sure the world is ready for $700 iPhones.’ Are you kidding me? That’s how much they cost! That’s why you’re in prison for multiple years!”
On Subsidized Phones: “You are paying every penny for their phones. You are not getting a $99 phone. Anyone who thinks they are, come with me into the back. While you’re handcuffed, they go into your pockets and they take your money.”
T-Mobile’s CEO has a vision and he’s not shy about sharing it, but that doesn’t mean he’ll easily achieve it. “There are a few things we need to regain. The cool factor, the differentiated, bit of a nerd company,” he said.
On a more serious note, Legere spoke with the NY Times and talked about spectrum, Value Plans, T-Mobile as the “unCarrier” and more.
Q: Do you really have enough spectrum for unlimited data?
A: If you look at post-MetroPCS merger, what we’re going to have for available spectrum in most cities, it’s beautiful. Not forever, but for the foreseeable future we see no issue with having unlimited data.
Q: How are you going to get the message of being an uncarrier out to consumers in advertisements, for instance?
A: Here’s what we’ve been doing among us and with agencies, is work that’s called tone, where we say, let’s see if you’ve got the right tone of where we’re trying to get to and what this uncarrier is. We liked the tone of things like, one of them was a great picture of a 7-year-old boy holding a Christmas present and he was pouting, and it said, “do AT&T executives make their children wait two years to open their presents?”
And when we play rough a bit, we want to do it fun. We want to keep the humor and the positiveness of the message, not an attacking thing. We’re a smaller company and trying to have a little fun and get a message and see how it resonates with some of the consumers. I think it will.
Q: What is the new T-Mobile?
A: One of the first policies I had to change was the outlawing of tattoos and piercing in the store. That just wasn’t consistent with who we are. We want the young customers, the ones who want to be a little bit different, that want to flow with the data surge that’s coming and want the latest smartphone devices. I think we’ve got a good chance to be that way.
Q: What’s your new philosophy for T-Mobile?
A: I’m “uncarrier.” The philosophy is this. If you look at the pain points that are common across all customers, in general customers in the entire industry are very concerned about the lack of transparency of the billing structure, the unpredictability of their billing, the overages, about the lack of flexibility of the contracts that tie them in, the lack of flexibility of decisions in their devices.
The first thing we’re doing is value plans: It’s a separation of the device and the rate plan. At the same time we’re sort of educating the customer. The way they pay now, that phone is not $199 if you have to be locked into a two-year contract. But if you go buy an iPad you buy an iPad. You pay the price of the iPad and you might get network availability and move on. You buy a TV, you go home and get cable TV.
In this way if you buy a device and have a separate plan, then you have a rate plan that’s cheaper from us. You can upgrade anytime you want. It’s a transparency and a visibility and more flexibility associated with devices.
There’s plenty more from the Q&A and I’d suggest hitting the NY Times link to truly get a better understanding of the new top dog at T-Mobile.