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T-Mobile CEO Legere still swinging at rivals, researchers, and many others

Jon Gold | March 11, 2014
T-Mobile CEO John Legere did what he does best last week, in response to negative news about his company's network performance - he went on the offensive.

He's the only CEO of a major American wireless carrier on the social network, and his uniquely combative style has won him a great deal of media attention over the past several months. Having taken the helm at T-Mobile in September 2012, Legere quickly moved to differentiate the lagging network from its larger and more successful competitors. This aggressive re-branding - the "un-carrier" strategy, as he called it - has been largely successful, at least in terms of PR.Legere's habit of spoiling for a fight at every opportunity truly entered the public consciousness at this year's CES event in Las Vegas. Having delivered a profanity-laced indictment of the wireless industry as a whole during a keynote address, he then contrived to get publicly thrown out of an AT&T party in the evening.

Legere has been busily generating headlines with his take-no-prisoners approach to PR ever since. Before the RootMetrics hubbub, he angered struggling Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry by encouraging T-Mobile BB users to switch to the iPhone. This drew an irate response from that company's CEO, John Chen, who blasted T-Mobile in an official blog post. Interestingly, Legere took a largely conciliatory tack in his initial responses:

BlackBerry follow up- We give our customers choices, but you don't have to give up your #loyalty. We will continue to support

The leopard, however, doesn't change its spots, and Legere couldn't resist a Parthian shot:

Was going to engage John Chen on Twitter, but turns out he's not here. I'll check MySpace. Don't worry @BlackBerry Something in the works!

Ouch.

It remains to be seen exactly how helpful Legere's bellicosity - and perhaps more important, his strategic changes - will be for T-Mobile's prospects in the long run. The company trumpeted its addition of 4.4 million new customers in 2013 in its most recent quarterly results, but those results also showed the company spent big on discounts and promotions in attracting them. T-Mobile has also spent big on a major chunk of valuable 700MHz spectrum, but those licenses could go a long way toward helping the network address some of the coverage deficiencies highlighted by the RootMetrics report.

 

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