Knowing What Happens Next, T-Mobile CEO Legere Heads For The Exit

from the getting-out-while-the-getting's-good dept

We've long noted that T-Mobile's brand reputation as a feisty consumer-friendly disruptor is only really skin deep. While the T-Mobile of 2012 or so certainly added some much needed competition to the wireless sector (killing ETFs, eliminating long-term contracts, and eroding international roaming costs), more recently the company has started to look a lot like the bigger competitors (AT&T, Verizon) it pretends to be superior to. From mocking groups like the EFF to opposing net neutrality, the company isn't all that different from the companies its brash CEO John Legere likes to make fun of.

The disconnect between the T-Mobile consumer friendly "uncarrier" brand and reality has proven particularly notable as T-Mobile and Sprint have kissed up to the Trump administration to gain regulatory approval for their controversial $26 billion megamerger.

From hiring Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski days after he mocked a kid with Down Syndrome on TV, to trampling the Constitution's emoluments clause by ramping up patronage of Trump's DC hotel to get merger approval, it hasn't been a pretty sight. Not a week goes by where Legere, who spent years mocking other companies' "bullshit," can't be found making false promises related to the megadeal.

While the deal has unsurprisingly received the DOJ (now run by former Verizon lawyer Bill Barr) and FCC (now run by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai) blessing thanks to T-Mobile's relentless ass kissing, it still faces a looming lawsuit by a bipartisan coalition of 13 state AGs. Which makes it an interesting time for T-Mobile CEO John Legere to announce he'll be leaving the company starting next May to be replaced by current T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert. Legere likely realizes it's best to go out on top. He also likely realizes that he probably shouldn't stick around to watch his company slowly become everything he claims to despise:

"Modern T-Mobile was born from the remnants of the DOJ’s decision to block AT&T from buying T-Mobile in 2011. The blocking of the deal forced AT&T to pay a $4 billion break up fee, money then used to propel T-Mobile to success.

Ironically, a company born out of government opposition to wireless consolidation is now pushing for one of the most controversial megadeals in industry history. The shift, driven largely by T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom, forced Legere into a role that’s in stark contrast to the brash, consumer-friendly persona he’d built since 2012."

If you've listened to economists, consumer groups, or 40 years of telecom history, it's clear that eliminating just one of four wireless competitors is going to hurt competition, raise rates, and result in endless layoffs as duplicative positions are inevitably eliminated. Since Legere has been busy promising the exact opposite of that, it's probably a good time to get while the getting's good, before his entire branding persona--replete with cookbooks and magenta high tops--is exposed as superficial by the company's inevitable thirst to take advantage of less competition than ever.

Filed Under: john legere
Companies: t-mobile


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 4:49am

    This bites.

    I’m a T-Mobile customer, and after this merger is approved (Barr and Pai have a habit of ignoring public pressure), I will have nowhere else to turn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:21am

      Re: This bites.

      I'm a Sprint customer, and...well, I hope this at least means there'll be more phones I can use on a Sprint plan, but yeah, it still sucks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 4:54am

      Re: This bites.

      Obviously, if your opinion matters, you will be able to back it up with a multi million donation to the political party in power. That will get your concern communicated to those who are making the decisions.

      If you can't or won't make that donation, then obviously both your opinion and you don't matter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:13am

    Maybe they are trying to push customers backwards back to using landlines as their main telecommunications...unintentionally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:56am

    Victory conditions for CEOs are often different then most folks or even the companies they are leading. He has collected millions in salary and even more in stock gains. By leaving while the company is doing good, he will become an attractive hire for a company needing a turnaround and be in a position to negotiate for good terms.

    Even if he doesn't want a CEO slot, he will likely be considered a prime Board member for a company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 12:19pm

    Such a biased article against the merger

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 19 Nov 2019 @ 11:55pm

      Re:

      If it has escaped your notice, most mergers of this nature are NEVER good for the consumer so it's no wonder that anyone with the tiniest shred of critical thinking are biased against them.

      If you think I'm wrong, go ahead and list ANY comparable merger that benefited the consumers with lower prices and/or better service.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 5:35am

      Re:

      The Richest 10% of Americans Now Own 84% of All Stocks per Money.com

      We have all heard the statement that we must do "unethical act" to increase shareholder value, due to mandatory Fiduciary Responsibility to the Stock Holders.

      Let me translate that for everyone...

      We must screw over our customers and the common citizens so that we may do a asset transfer to the richest people in society.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 9:25pm

    Who the fuck are you, John Legere?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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