Tune in live to find out what John Legere has up his sleeve next at tonight’s Uncarrier 5.0 event in Seattle.
The Bellevue-based company sent invitations to journalists a couple weeks ago, teasing us with the tagline T-Mobile “doesn’t play it safe and sound.” Predictions are for some sort of music announcement, especially since hometown hero Macklemore will be performing right afterward at 8:30 p.m.
The most likely option would be a partnership between T-Mobile and a music streaming service, which would allow customers to listen for free or at a discount while they’re on a T-Mobile contract.
The event closely follows Amazon’s Fire phone unveiling this morning, and we are starting to notice a theme: A big presence by employees and customers, who are more than willing to provide a running soundtrack of cheers, hollers, and whistles.
Todd Bishop and I will be covering live in just a minute.
The energy in this crowd is off the charts, with synchronized cheers, and VERY loud music. Clearly, no one is letting Amazon steal their thunder today.
Everyone is wearing pink. Lots and lots of pink. It’s not entirely clear what people are chanting, if anyone knows, tell us in the comments.
Cheers to T-Mobile for providing plush white hipster chairs in the front of the theater for the press. It’s already been a long day. First live blog kicked off nearly eight hours ago.
Todd and I are completely undressed, having left our pink cowboy hats, leis and boas at home. Did I just see Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer, just taking a selfie??
A huge applause from the crowd to welcome Legere to the side of the stage. The employees love him, black 80’s leather jacket and all!
Here we go … Feels like a concert … or maybe E3?
Todd and I are completely under dressed, having left our pink cowboy hats, leis and boas at home. Did I just see Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer, taking a selfie??
Is this a boxing event or a press conference? Introducing in one corner John, the “un-CEO” Legere.
The only place in the world where a wireless carrier executive can be a rockstar: A theatre full of employees.
A joke about the Amazon phone right off the bat, mentioning that “hologram phone.”
Here’s the boxing announcer who kicked off the event, introducing Legere, the “Un-CEO”
He acknowledges the insanity we are hearing in the background: “I should acknowledge right up front. It’s a unique event. We did invite one or two people to join us today.” Or, maybe 700…
Yep, he says, it’s customers and employees. “They are out of their god-damn mind on their own,” he said. “This is what our employees and customers look and sound like every day.” In response, we are hearing TOTAL INSANITY APPLAUSE.
Some pretty wacky things happen he says if you reach out and talk to customers on Twitter.
Correction: He’s not wearing a black leather jacket. It’s a black blazer with a zipper. On his feet: pink Converse.
He’s recapping his agenda at T-Mobile that’s resulted in 17 million choosing T-Mobile. “Why does the industry treat data users as second-class customers?”
A question: Why don’t AT&T and Verizon offer unlimited data plans.
A) They can’t.
B) They are greedy bastards.
C) My favorite: Both.
Our network is designed differently than the competitors, he says. It’s built for data not phone calls.
Some stats: T-Mobile customers use 69 percent more data than an average Verizon customers; 61 percent more data than everyone in the “framily.” And, an average T-Mobile customer uses 100 percent more data than an AT&T customer.
Here’s the message he’s saying: Let’s compare data maps, not phone call maps because if we do, T-Mobile will kick everyone else’s ass.
He’s talking about Wideband LTE, and VoLTE, and how T-Mobile is “kicking ass” on these two fronts.
Here’s what drives me nuts: The media spending totals $6 billion a year in our industry.
“The biggest bullshit in history. Maps and families running through the god-damn store. This is how America makes wireless decisions. What the fuck do I care about all that?”
More R-rated swearing…”The fuckers hate you.”
There’s a pool on how many times he is swearing, he says, so he had to sneak in at least four in the first 5 minutes. I think he did it!!
John Legere walked off stage for video and assistant handed him a Red Bull, because, you know, he needs to amp things up a bit.
Seven free days to try out T-Mobile’s “Data Strong” network. You know, give it a spin, take it a for a one-night (err, seven-night stand).
This is called the “T-Mobile Test Drive.” Legere is asking you to try it, and after seven nights, you can decide.
“We think everyone should cheat on their carrier and enjoy every minute of it.”
This is in partnership with Apple. You get an iPhone 5s with zero cost, no down payment.
Did you know T-Mobile had the iPhone? Now you do!
Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s CMO takes the stage to talk about the seven-night stand.
Disclosure: I’m not making any of this stuff up.
Today’s process includes you taking your whole family, go into retail store, hand over your phones, and then you pay hundreds of dollars and half a day moving back into that phone.
Or, here’s T-Mobile new proposition: You pay nothing, it’s free. Receive an iPhone 5s, bang on our network for a week, and then return it to a store if it doesn’t work for you.
Of course there’s a hashtag: #7NightStand.
The key to the Seven Night Stand is that you haven’t given up your old carrier or phone yet. You get both to judge side-by-side, at the same time.
T-Mobile wants you to cheat with your carrier, and have fun with it along the way.
Applause welcomes Legere back to the stage to answer the big question: What’s next?
Here’s T-Mobile 6.0. Five wasn’t enough. Next up is 24/7 music streaming with no data charges.
All service providers: iheart radio, iTunes Radio, rhapsody, Spotify, slacker. No overages.
Music freedom, he calls it: 113 million people stream music on their mobile devices.
Legere: 67 percent of streamers do it on mobile devices, but people admit that they often limit streaming because they are afraid they will use up all their data.
“They see everything as an opportunity to tell customers what to do and gauge them.”
This is turning into a religious experience. True believers in the crowd.
We will never run out of things to fix in the industry, he says.
Sievert back on stage to run us through the specifics.
I didn’t mention before, but Pandora is also included, so there’s six total. The others: Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Slacker, Spotify.
It’s free, and it’s unlimited, and T-Mobile is doing it for one reason: Our data strong network can handle it, and music is a showcase.
They’ll add to MusicFreedom as they go along, and you can vote online for other services, like Last.FM, Radio, Prime usic, Beats Music.
Another announcement is a partnership with Rhapsody to deliver Rhapsody unRadio.
It’s $5 a month to the public, and available in all the app stores, but for its unlimited T-Mobile customers it’s free. For other T-Mobile customers, it’s $4.
Perks of “unRadio” is the ability to play songs without limits and unlimited song skipping.
Q&A starts now.
Legere asks himself the first one: What if the other carriers copy them?
Answer: “I don’t give a shit, and I’ll keep going.”
First analyst question: Why only test driving the iPhone and not an Android?
Legere says it’s because the awareness is so low that T-Mobile offers the iPhone.
Legere says it’s because the awareness is so low that T-Mobile offers the iPhone.
Why those six music services? Because they encompass 85 percent of the industry.
What does Legere think demand will be for the Seven Night Stand? We’ll do at least a million Test Drives this year, he estimates.
CEO John Legere, marketing chief Mike Sievert and tech chief Neville Ray.
T-Mobile wants to be clear: They don’t have any business relationships with these streaming music providers. T-Mobile is paying for the data on their customer’s behalf. Of course, customers will have to pay any music subscription fees, if required.
A question about video? Sorry, no immediate plans to do the same thing. Video is super bandwidth intensive, even for T-Mobile.
More details on the test drive: They won’t hit your credit card with a $700 charge at midnight on the 7th day. There’s a grace period. And, they won’t charge you for dings on the phone.
The test drive is also available to business owners. You get three phones and you get to try them out for two weeks. A little different, but not much.
Where do things stand with Sprint?
No comment, but Legere addresses regulatory concerns anyway: “This uncarrier movement will continue. Competition is much better because T-Mobile exists and it’s getting better every time. The U.S. is getting an inkling of what competition looks like.”
Members of the media get a test drive phone, woohoo!
It’s a good day to be press. Doors open at 8:30 for Macklemore, but sorry, this live blog ends now!