LAS VEGAS—John Legere is the unCEO of the unCarrier. In a rollicking Q&A that more resembled a Vegas standup routine than the usual staid wireless carrier chat, the new CEO of T-Mobile USA laid into his competitors, accusing AT&T of having a "crap" 3G network and saying that Verizon's service plans could buckle under the weight of porn.
This is one of the cases where a source's own words are just plain better then anything I could write. So here are his best quips.
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." [and then later] "I didn't say the network's crap, it's just not as good as ours. That's not the common person's understanding, but it's true, and it's going to get even better."
CES 2013 BugOn Sprint LTE: "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."
Legere is, of course, crazy like a fox. He knows that T-Mobile has to shout loudly to be noticed, and he's working hard to give the company a new image as the young, fresh carrier for everyone dissatisfied with their AT&T service or with the ways more traditional carriers work.
"There are a few things we need to regain. The cool factor, the differentiated, bit of a nerd company," he said.
T-Mobile's "uncarrier" moves may be more in sync with the industry than they look. T-Mobile's HD Voice announcement today, for instance, pips the competition on a technology—or at least a buzzword—at which everyone else is aiming. And T-Mobile's switch to "value plans" where the phone price is detached from the plan price? Both Sprint and Verizon have said they're keeping a close eye on that.
"When you're the challenger, you've got to get them to notice you," he said. "Several months ago I was flattered that they put us in the [LTE] commercial with zero LTE, because we had a bar [on the chart]! We were there!"
Earlier today, T-Mobile announced that its LTE network is coming within a few weeks. Also today, the company announced a $70 no-contract plan with unlimited data, as well as limited free data for laptops with built-in modems, and a partnership with Major League Baseball that puts T-Mobile phones into ballparks and dugouts.
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