LAS VEGAS — I’m in the front row at T-Mobile’s press conference here at CES, where CEO John Legere is expected to unveil the company’s “Uncarrier 4.0″ initiative — a follow-up, of sorts, to his now-legendary (and brief) appearance at AT&T’s private Macklemore concert this week. Presumably he’ll be able to stick around this time.
And of course they’re playing Macklemore (uncensored, naturally) as we file into the room.
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“Price war? No, but we are going to shake them up,” he says. “Healthy profit, growth business is clearly our objective.”
Question from financial reporter about risk of price war in wireless industry, and impact on profits. Legere asks if Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam sent in that question.
Question: How will the rumors of T-Mobile as an acquisition target affect customer decisions? Legere says he believes the T-Mobile brand and spirit will prevail “in any scenario.”
Legere makes it clear that he believes T-Mobile can become the No. 1 U.S. carrier, up from No. 4 currently. Not next year, but over time as it continues to disrupt.
The company will offer a Mad Libs-style “breakup letter” for customers who switch, a social media stunt of sorts.
It’s not a promotion, it’s not a bribe, “it’s transformational change for our industry,” Sievert says.
AT&T marketing Michael Sievert is outlining how the promotion will work, with zero-down device sales and an instant credit for trade-ins. In some cases, switchers will actually profit marginally, rather than being penalized, he says.
By comparison, AT&T’s promotion, announced last week in an attempt to pre-empt T-Mobile, will compensate $200 for early termination fees and up to $250 for trade-in value. Legere says T-Mobile’s plan is not temporary.
Legere is back. According to the release, he’s going to announce that T-Mobile will offer up to $650 to customers who switch from other carriers, consisting of up to $300 for a device trade-in (based on the value of their phones) and $350 to compensate for their early termination fees.
Here’s the T-Mobile press release in full: http://multimediacapsule.thomsonone.com/t-mobileusa/t-mobile-uncarrier-4
Here’s a preview of what the company is announcing, via a T-Mobile news release:
” ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’ – T-Mobile will pay off the early termination fees for customers that want to switch from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. With an eligible phone trade-in, the total value of the offer to switch to T-Mobile could be as high as $650 per line.”
T-Mobile has just officially announced its preliminary Q4 results, just in case you were worried Legere was committing an SEC violation earlier: Here’s the link, courtesy my colleague John Cook: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1283699/000128369914000004/tmus01082014ex991.htm
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray is up now to talk about the claim, and how the company has gotten there.
Legere is announcing that T-Mobile is now claiming the fastest 4G LTE in the nation.
“All the disruption in the world doesn’t mean shit without a network to back it up,” he says.
He’s now running down the company’s Uncarrier initiatives so far, including upending wireless contracts, the JUMP plan, and the end of extra charges for international data.
We are going either going to take over the whole industry, or the rest of the industry is going to change and T-Mobile will still do well. “I’m going to love watching the peckers scream,” he says.
That’s in addition to net additions of more than 1 million customers in each of the previous two quarters.
T-mobile added 1.6 million net new customers in the fourth quarter, he says.
The biggest thing that’s going to give power to this company is customers, he says, and declares that he’s going to announce T-Mobile’s fourth quarter results.
This is like a late-night comedy routine, with bite (and profanity).
Legere calls AT&T’s sponsored data initiative, announced earlier this week, “the biggest horseshit in the world”
AT&T is a total source of amusement to me, because they are the ones that take my bullshit, he says. They take the bait. These are fat cats that can’t move, he says.
Now he’s onto Sprint, calling them an impaired brand with a network capability that is subpar.
Family plans are a “contract on super steroids.” “It’s not joe-schmo pulling down the porn that’s the problem,” he says. It’s the fact that the family has a data cap.
Says Verizon lost sight of their customers because they took them for granted. Calls the family plan in general “one of the evils of this industry.”
After joking that he and Michael Bay were the top stories of the first two days of CES, he gets down to business. Calls T-Mobile’s moves over the past year the ‘most simplistic execution of listening to customers’ — just the basics.
He is recounting the AT&T incident, and says he told them, I just looked at these people and said, it’s not why I came here, but do you know how much material you’re going to give me if you kick me out?
He holds up a shirt that says “I just wanted to see Macklemore” and gives it to Roger Cheng of CNet, who took the picture that got him kicked out when AT&T saw it on twitter.
Now a video recapping the new initiatives T-Mobile has put out over the past year, and Legere comes up to more Macklemore. Legere: If you think they throw me out then, just wait to see what happens today, he says.
The event starts with a video of Legere taking a giant check to an AT&T store to make up for the international data of “Jeremy” from the promotional campaign touting T-Mobile’s no-extra-charge international data planse