Verizon opens war of words with T-Mobile US over Legere’s spectrum claims

Verizon opens war of words with T-Mobile US over Legere’s spectrum claims

12 JUN 2015

Verizon hit back at claims from T-Mobile US CEO John Legere that it is trying to push the country’s number four player out of the upcoming US wireless auction, stating that “T-Mobile is more than welcome to participate in any auction the FCC holds”.

Legere, ever controversial and outspoken, released a foul mouthed blog and vlog entry (watch video below) urging wireless consumers to “pay attention” and make their voices heard to the FCC over a wireless spectrum auction due next year, following a visit to Washington DC to discuss the future of the internet with the government.

“There’s some serious shit about to go down in DC, and if you’re one of the 180 million Americans out there using a smartphone and you’re not pissed off right now, then you’re not paying attention – but you need to,” he said.

In effect, Legere wants regulators to set aside more low band spectrum, which is available from wireless airwaves held by TV broadcasters, for smaller carriers, rather than giving AT&T and Verizon a chance to bid on the majority of what is available.

Verizon since responded by pointing to the fact that T-Mobile actually chose not to participate in a corresponding auction back in 2007, the last time large swaths of low band spectrum became available.

In its own blog post, Verizon said: “Mr Legere and T-Mobile are actually doing whatever they can to push companies like Verizon out of the auction.”

The company also advised the fiery CEO to “watch the language” after his rant.

Legere’s latest attempt to rile up market leaders Verizon and AT&T appears to have worked, which he describes in his vlog as “dumb and dumber” respectively.

“AT&T and Verizon are feverishly protecting their wireless duopoly by hoarding spectrum at the expense of American consumers,” said Legere. “They are trying to control the FCC like they do airwaves, and I think it’s important that consumers understand what is at stake.”

He claims both operators have deployed an army of lobbyists to strong arm the five FCC commissioners in charge of governing the upcoming auction.

If AT&T and Verizon get their way, Legere tells users, “it will help them dominate the wireless industry going forward and you’re going to pay the price. Every consumer in America loses”.

Spectrum “is the lifeblood of the industry”, says Legere, and his team at T-Mobile have been arguing for a better share of spectrum for months, but have been met by strong opposition by the market leaders.

The FCC set aside 30MHz of airwave licences last year, which it invites only “smaller carriers” to bid on.

Adding to its response over Legere’s claims, Verizon points out that T-Mobile and Sprint actually lobbied to stop Verizon and AT&T from participating, and succeeded.

“T-Mobile’s parent company is Deutsche Telekom and has a market cap of $76 billion. Sprint’s parent company is Softbank, with a similar market cap of about $70 billion. In other words, these aren’t small companies,” it said.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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