T-Mobile CEO John Legere

John Legere has kept a pretty low profile since being named CEO of T-Mobile USA last September, even though he did already help orchestrate a big merger with MetroPCS. But now we’re starting to hear more from the wireless executive. And Legere, the former CEO of Global Crossing, is coming out firing on behalf of the country’s fourth biggest carrier.

At a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday, Legere reportedly labeled AT&T’s network as “crap” in New York City. He went on to criticize his bigger rival’s marketing efforts, noting that he “saw more honesty on a Match.com ad than AT&T’s coverage maps.”

Legere also was critical of Verizon’s roll out of LTE in “dust bowl states,” later noting that “they’re not the cool company.”

And what does he think of 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,” he quipped.


Is this the face of the coolest wireless company?

This is going to be a fun year to cover the wireless industry, especially from our vantage point here in Seattle. After all, not only is T-Mobile looking to claw its way back into the mobile fight by rolling out a new LTE network and the iPhone (expected to arrive in the next three to four months), but Clearwire is currently in the midst of what appears to be a classic bidding war between Dish Network and Sprint.

In fact, Legere noted in remarks to Reuters on Tuesday that he would potentially explore a deal with Dish Network, adding yet another potential wrinkle to the Clearwire saga.

And then there’s device subsidies, which T-Mobile plans to wipe out in order to differentiate itself from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon which cut prices on devices in order to lock customers into 2-year service contracts.

“If the old industry structure chooses to ignore what we do,” he said. “That’s a potential” to grow market share by as much as five percent.

Hang on, folks. This could be a fun ride.

At a panel discussion a few weeks ago, I mentioned how I thought the T-Mobile story was going to be an interesting one to watch in 2013. Now, just nine days into the year here we are with Legere taking off the gloves.

Previously on GeekWireT-Mobile executive: Key to fixing industry is removing device subsidies

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  • Jason

    John, you’re full of shit. I live in Seattle, less than a mile from downtown and a 10-minute drive from T-Mobile USA headquarters. I will personally donate $5,000 to the charity of your choice if you come to my home and demonstrate that a T-Mobile phone has more network coverage in my home, my nearby shops, and my office than a comparable AT&T phone does.

    I’ve had T-Mobile service for over 2 years in Seattle. It’s been absolutely awful. I can’t wait to go back to AT&T. Sure, it costs more and there are usage caps, but I can put a price on actually being able to use my phone.

    • http://twitter.com/fijiaaron Aaron Evans

      They’re the same devices, with the same chips. Neither T-Mobile or AT&T makes phones.

      • Jason

        Exactly. In Seattle, in my experience, the same device works on AT&T and doesn’t work on T-Mobile. For John Legere to claim otherwise is completely dishonest. His company has taken nearly $2,000 from me, and I feel incredibly foolish for have given him the benefit of so many doubts.

        • SME

          Carriers lock their devices so it’s no wonder that a phone you buy from AT&T doesn’t work on T-Mo. That’s by design.

          • Jason

            An unlocked device, capable of connecting to the AT&T and T-Mobile networks, functions on the AT&T network but doesn’t function on the T-Mobile network.

            Put even more pedantically, let’s say I buy a device that has a radio which can connect to the various bands that AT&T and T-Mobile use for data and voice communications. I unlock this device so that it is not exclusive to a single carrier. I place an AT&T SIM card in the phone and turn it on. I am now able to make telephone calls, to send and to receive text messages, and to connect to the Internet throughout Seattle. I turn the telephone off, remove the AT&T SIM card, and insert a T-Mobile SIM card. I put the battery back in, turn the phone on, and wait for it to boot. I find that it many of the areas where AT&T had good-quality service, T-Mobile provides poor to no service. This means that I cannot make voice calls, I cannot send nor receive text messages, and my data connection requests time out having not been completed.

            I hope that this explanation has satisfactorily explicated the reasons why T-Mobile service is poor in Seattle — and in much of the country, in my experience.

  • John

    I will have to agree, having been a customer & employee of T-Mobile, it’s tough when you compare coverage with any of the other major carriers. I’d rather pay a little more knowing that I will ‘actually’ have service where I live and work. With T-Mobile, I often find that my reception is poor or lacking when compared to others.

  • Parker

    I recently switched from Sprint to Verizon. I really tried to find a way to make T-Mobile work and switch to them, but I found their phones to be “uncool” and their coverage even worse than Sprint’s in the area I live, “dust bowl” Kitsap. I went with Verizon for the network coverage and I’ve been blown away how no matter where I go, I have 4G; in Bremerton, in Kingston, on any ferry crossing the sound, north Seattle, downtown Seattle… everywhere!

  • http://twitter.com/Vroo Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    I’ve had Tmo for several years and have had consistently good coverage across Seattle. The only time I haven’t had good coverage was when I had AT&T and lived a mere 2 miles from AT&T headquarters in Redmond Town Center (pre-Cingular). I could not get a signal at home. And then Cingular bought AT&T and it got worse.

    On the flip side, I recently checked out how much I would save by switching to a Tmo value plan since they seemed to be pushing in that direction (and now are explicitly saying that). Turns out, I’d save <$10 a month on my 5 line family plan. That is, I'd save <$24 per year per phone to give up subsidized phones. That's not a good deal. So they're going to have to do a bit better than this to convince me that switching to value plans isn't a price increase.

  • Kelly

    Regardless of the quality of company, this kind of tactic trashing your biggest competition (and in this case your superiors) is not going to help you “claw back up the ratings.” No one likes a crap talker. Plus, I’ve been against T Mobile having the iPhone since the beginning – as a premium brand like Apple, why would you want to be associated with such a low quality provider? You’re already the best and have a majority of the market share! Seriously?? I use my iPhone for everything, everyday, and it would be pointless without the unlimited data and great network. The only time my phone doesn’t work is when I’m camping somewhere and I don’t want it to! ;)

  • KOF

    I have great coverage and service with T-Mobile. I was with ATT before and it was a crime what they charged for their services. T-Mobile is half the price and I have way better coverage and faster data speeds than with ATT. Way to go! Finally nice to see some progression in the industry

  • http://twitter.com/TonydeFreitas1 Tony de Freitas

    This CEO is a joke, I’m a T-Mobile user for over 13 years and about to leave, I used to get 4G , now I’m lucky to get that – my device ( multiple) only get to 2G for most of the day. In order to make calls I have to go and hang out their store to get 4 bars……. maybe he should be asking T-Mobile teams what crap is this that we are offering our customers

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottmoore.seattle Scott Moore

    T-mobile is a mixed bag. I’ve used them for years, and sometimes their coverage bothers me. It could be a lot better. But what are the alternatives?

    Verizon has great coverage, but arguably the most hostile, one sided, rude customer service in the world. AT&T has horrible coverage.

    So all in all I’m glad T-mobile is still in the mix.

  • http://twitter.com/bigern79 Ruben Alanis

    I love how the CEO is talking trash about competition when T-Mobile has plenty of issues of their own to fix. And, here’s a news flash Mr. Legere: your commercials showing a woman riding around on a motorcycle and flying in a helicopter don’t exactly convince me that you have a great network, service, or any mobile expertise whatsoever. I hate those idiotic and pointless commercials so, so much.

  • David

    I’d rather die than ever sign a contract for a “device” again. Verizon, you could care less really as it seems I can’t get “branded” service from your Verizon store as it was owned by Cellular Cells, they don’t have techs on staff, and to drive 35 minutes to corporate store. T-mobile. I want to do your dumb ride along chic, no more from you desired however

  • Mike


    Just read this article. T-Mobile customers are in big trouble, he doesn’t about employees or customers he’s been cutting jobs all his life and hasn’t really accomplished anything in his career. Do people use google anymore?

  • Raven Earley

    T-Mobile is the most dishonest company I have ever worked with. After changing my plan through a representative at a kiosk in my local mall my contract was extended without this being properly explained to me. Now T-mobile will not give me back my original contract end date and is pressuring me to re-sign another two year contract making my new end date 3 years from now!!! I think it is very poor business practice to lie to a customer and then pressure them to sign a new contract when you couldn’t get the first one right.

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