John Legere, the straight-talking CEO of T-Mobile, the fourth-largest mobile operator in the US, insisted there was no need to beat down Sprint in order to succeed, anticipating that any momentum from the third-largest mobile player when it reports Q3 financials (3 November) would probably come at the expense of AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Legere, speaking at T-Mobile’s earnings conference call for Q3 – a record-breaking quarter for subscriber growth – added that he hoped Sprint does well, saying it was good for competition.
It was an uncharacteristically subdued performance from the T-Mobile US boss, holding back on badmouthing competitors. He did, however, give his own perspective on Sprint ‘growth’ under its new CEO. “Let’s not get carried away about something that was dead but is now starting to show a pulse,” he said.
Legere pitched the earnings call as ‘uncarrier’, fielding questions from Twitter as well as traditional dial-in calls from analysts, but he still gave little away.
There was no elaboration on comments made the previous night at a conference organised by Re/code, where he mentioned a growing wholesale opportunity from multiple players entering the industry. “There’s a long-term strategy with wholesale, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be a wholesale provider only,” he said. “Content providers also want our brand to deliver [their content].”
Legere added there were “multiple growth paths, both organic and inorganic”, but wouldn’t elaborate on any M&A ambitions he might be harbouring after the Sprint tie-up fell foul of regulators.
He nonetheless defended T-Mobile’s higher churn rates than the big two – Verizon Wireless and AT&T – saying he was “very comfortable” that postpaid churn had now fallen below 2 per cent and that lowering it further was a work in progress.
He questioned competitors’ customer loyalty – particularly those of AT&T and Sprint – arguing that a combination of a speedier LTE network and uncarrier initiatives (aimed at easing customer pain points) gave the T-Mobile brand an edge.