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Summary:

T-Mobile USA’s new CEO John Legere has a tough job ahead of him given T-Mobile’s shrinking customer base. But if he continues down the path T-Mobile has laid — challenging the status quo of AT&T and Verizon, Legere could help reshape the US mobile market.

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere

Three months after T-Mobile USA’s CEO Philipp Humm quit to move to Vodafone, the carrier finds itself welcoming its new chief. Deutsche Telekom has named former Global Crossing CEO John Legere to take over its US mobile arm.

Legere, 54, will officially change offices on Sept. 22, when interim CEO Jim Alling will return to his old job as T-Mobile’s COO. From his resume, Alling Legere seems like an odd choice. Global Crossing, which was acquired by Level 3 Communications last year, was a submarine cable operator providing the fiber connections that link continents, not a consumer-facing wireless business. Legere had a stint at Dell Computer, but the last time he worked at a retail carrier was in 1998 at AT&T, and even there he wasn’t working in the cellular or consumer side of the house. He managed AT&T’s Asian wireline business operations and headed up corporate strategy.

But then again, someone unaccustomed to how things are usually done in the US mobile industry is exactly what T-Mobile needs right now. If T-Mobile is to succeed it will be through challenging the status quo established by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which collectively manage two-thirds of all US mobile connections. T-Mobile started down that path after its planned merger with AT&T failed last year. As I wrote when Humm departed in June, T-Mobile’s new CEO shouldn’t change a thing about strategy. It’s not clear whether Legere is going to listen to GigaOM, but hopefully he’ll listen to the T-Mobile’s more-than-capable staff, who started laying the foundation of that challenger strategy long before DT got into bed with Ma Bell.

T-Mobile is questioning the long-accepted accepted pricing models in the US mobile market. It’s moving customers away from device subsidies and in the process eliminating the hidden device “mortgage” payments we make on our monthly bills. It’s offering data plans at a steep discount to AT&T and Verizon, and it recently rejoined Sprint in selling an unlimited smartphone plan.

On the network side, T-Mobile is taking advantage of the limited spectrum resources it has to overhaul its network, shutting down old 2G networks so it can repurpose their airwaves for an LTE network as well as eke out more 3G capacity. In the process, it’s realigning its networks bands with the major North American GSM operators, which will give it access to a greater variety of devices – including the new iPhone. (T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray will detail that transformation at GigaOM’s Mobilize Conference this Friday.)

That network overhaul, however, can’t come soon enough. As the only nationwide US operator sans iPhone, T-Mobile is suffering customer defections it can’t stem no matter how cheap it makes its data plans. T-Mobile is actually 400,000 subscribers smaller today than it was at this time last year.

Legere is going to have to figure out how to staunch that subscriber bleed, but hopefully he won’t do it by reversing T-Mobile’s course and emulating the big operators. Though T-Mobile once had dreams of mega-carrier glory, the failure of AT&T-Mo put an end to those fantasies. Whether it likes it or not, T-Mobile’s new role is that of the market challenger, and it’s not going to succeed by playing the same game as its bigger rivals.

  1. Good analysis and I completely agree.

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  2. Ended my subscription to T-Mobile due to the reeediculously poor network service. Purchased a Motorola Cliq in 2008 prior to going overseas for the Navy.. Where there was a steady and STRONG 3g signal!! (German owned company)
    After transfering to a small community an hour and a half from Washington DC, I discovered my steady 3g from overseas drop to the “edge” network with one or two bars (technically back to the bronze age of cellphone signals, in 2010.) I had patiently waited for the promises of T-mobile to upgrade the area for over two years to no avail, ulitmately I switched to verizon. Largest network… Yeah in Europe and the Middle East but not here.

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  3. Reblogged this on Today's News.

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  4. Does Loyality Count? I have been a customer of T-Mobile prior to the company being named T-Mobile. That’s right, 14 years. That’s 7 signed contracts.
    It was nine months ago that my signal strength started to disappear. I was experiencing dropped calls constantly. It was embarrassing. I lost my signal in the back of my home. That is where my bedroom is located. Crazy that I can’t make calls in my own home. The T-Mobile store submitted a work order to determine why I was having trouble. Well, they never actually went out to check. T-Mobile said it was probably my phone that was causing the problem Samsung Gravity Smart. They did not offer a new phone unless I was willing to pay retail price. (no discounts).
    I transferred my number to Verizon and have not had any trouble. Great Customer Service without long wait times.
    T=Mobile wants me to pay a “full cancelation fee of $200.00). They did not see a problem with my not having a strong signal.
    I was treated like dirt. I now pay $40 a month for talk, text, and data, rather than $75. I have an IPhone 4S and enjoy using my phone once again.
    Please share if you have had similiar experiences with T-Mobile.

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    1. Anyone interested in a class-action suit for false advertising and breach of contract?
      Joe
      757-295-1215

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  5. Just wanted to share the awful customer service that T-mobile provides to loyal customers.
    You have been connected to %Jeffrey M.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: I AM GETTING A TEXT MESSAGE THAT STATES THAT MY BALANCE IS COMING DUE. i HAVE SPOKEN WITH SEVERAL PEOPLE ANNA (37104) WHO ISSUED ME A CREDIT OF 1002.29 DUE TO A MISTAKE ON TMOBILES PART CONFIRMATION # 220573863. THIS NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED BECAUSE MY BALANCE IS DUE ON SATURDAY.
    %Jeffrey M: Good day! I apologize for that. Let me go check your bill.
    %Jeffrey M: How are you today?
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: I would be great if this wasnt the 4th time i had to contact about this issue.
    %Jeffrey M: I am sorry to hear that. This might take me 1-2 minutes to research your bill. Is that okay?
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: Sure, I am work so i am multi taking
    %Jeffrey M: Okay.
    %Jeffrey M: Thank you for waiting. Upon checking, I see that there is already an adjustment for $100.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: Yes, and there should be a credit for 1002.29 issued by Anna id#37104. my concern is that my bill is due on Saturday and if this isnt resolved and my services get disconnected that will be the final straw and I will take my business elsewhere
    %Jeffrey M: I apologize for that. One moment please.
    %Jeffrey M: Thank you for waiting. I apologize for the inconvenience, upon checking, the adjustment was processed but it does not gets an approval.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: what does that mean ? that the balance is what it is?
    %Jeffrey M: Yes that is correct. We just approved the $100 adjustment.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: You are kidding me ? I need a name of a supervisor and their direct line
    %Jeffrey M: I understand where you are coming from. You may speak to a supervisor by calling 1-800-937-8997.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: that is not what i asked i am sick of calling in and be told that there are no supervisors available. i want a direct #! this has gone on for several phone calls now and i am not sure why i keep wasting my time with this company that makes errors on adjusting my package and then is not correcting there error.
    %Jeffrey M: I’ll be happy to see if some one in the higher management is available.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: DO YOU NOT SEE THE PROBLEM WITH IT HAS BEEN OVER 10 MINUTES AND NOTHING???
    %Jeffrey M: I apologize for that. I am about to transfer you now. Please stay on the line.
    %Rey S has entered the session.
    %Jeffrey M has left the session.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: REY CAN I GET YOUR ID #
    %Rey S: Sure. My rep id is 853456.
    %Rey S: I’m really sorry to hear that it appears that an adjustment is supposed to be applied to your account. Let me check into that for you. One moment.
    %Rey S: I am reviewing your account details now. Please bear with me.
    %Rey S: I am checking the account notes. I understand that an adjustment for more than $1000 is supposed to be applied. I am looking closer into this for you, Christina. One moment.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: $1002.29 is the exact amount that I was told
    %Rey S: I understand. I am checking that now. Please bear with me.
    %Rey S: I am reviewing the correct adjustments. Please give me more time on this, Christina.
    %Rey S: I have reviewed your account details and I understand that the adjustment was for the messaging overages on your account.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: IT WAS WHEN I CHANGED THE PACKAGE ON MY ACCOUNT ONE OF REPRESENTATIVES DID NOT SET IT UP CORRECTLY. I SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE HAD UNLIMITED MESSAGING AND UNLIMITED DATA THE ONLY THING THAT SHOULD HAVE CHANGED WAS THE AMOUNT OF MINUTES ON THE ACCOUNT.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: SO YOU TELL ME?? WHEN THE 27TH COMES AND MY BILL IS DUE WILL MY PHONES BE DISCONNECTED OR WILL THIS BE RESOLVED ?
    %Rey S: Please be assured Christina that we are on the same page on this and we want nothing else other than resolve this for you.
    %Rey S: I am reviewing the notes on what exactly happened including the feature changes. Please bear with me.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: I AM GOING INTO 5 CONVERSATION NOW AND IT STILL STATES THAT I OWE YOUR COMPANY OVER A $1000 THIS IS RIDICULOUSNESS THAT IT TAKES MULTIPLE PEOPLE TO HANDLE ONE ISSUE.
    %Rey S: I hear you and I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. Don;t worry, I will be working on this for you so we can resolve this.
    %Rey S: Thank you so much for your patience on this, Christina.
    %Rey S: I have thouroughly checked the account details and I understand that you were given information that the adjustment including the reference number you gave is due to be applied to your account.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: THIS IS CORRECT REFERANCE 220573863 GIVEN BY ANNA 37104 SO RAY YOU HAVE MY # I HAVE WASTED TOO MUCH OF MY TIME ON THIS. WHEN THIS IS RESOLVED YOU CONTACT ME AND IF I DONT HEAR FROM YOU I WILL KNOW THAT MY SERVICES WILL BE TERMINATED AND I WILL TAKE MY BUSINESS ELSE WHERE
    %Rey S: I can see that the adjustments due are just pending approval. You know that we value your business very much and would definitely want to keep you a satisfied T-Mobile customer.
    %Rey S: SInce however, the adjustments were processed by our Loyalty Team and is only pending approval, I will recommend to please contact us at 1-800-937-8997.
    %Rey S: I will be leaving notes on the account about this concern to make sure that you do not need to contact us back several times to have this resolved. The next rep froum our loyalty Team will definitely have reference on this to fully resolve this for you.
    CHRISTINA DOCTOR: I WILL NOT BE CONTACTING YOU AGAIN. EITHER YOU HAVE THIS RESOLVED AND CONTACT ME OR AGAIN I WILL TAKE MY BUSINESS SOMEWHERE ELSE!
    %Rey S: I completely understand.
    %Rey S: Are we still connected, Christina?
    %Rey S: It seems you have stepped away from your computer. I regret that I am going to have to disconnect this chat. Please contact us again via Live Chat, or by calling 1-800-937-8997 or by dialing 611 from your handset. Thank you for using T-Mobile Chat. Have a great day!
    Thank you for using our online help. You may now close this window.

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  6. Well, there you go! I’ve hopped around from Verizon when we first went to cell phones, to Sprint for 3G and Verizon for 4G with all their penny- annie contracts and extra fees and I have not gotten consistent good service on my cell phone ever. Now with T-Mobile, I am on month to month unlimited for $32 and I’ve had NO PROBLEMS with dropped calls or bad coverage.

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  7. Mr. John Legere CEO of T Mobile.
    We had T mobile many years ago we switched to another wireless company we paid our bill in full to T Mobile not once but twice because T mobile didn’t keep records of the first payment and since this was many years ago, it is in archives. Now we have run into a BIG PROBLEM with T Mobile not with just T mobile but they sent it to an outside collection agency Midland Credit Management in the amount of $182.10, like I said this was paid in full. However we paid it again in full by CHECK this time to T MOBILE and they have had 60 days to notify midlands that they received payment in the amount of $182.10. T Mobile cashed the check on September 4, 2011 and I notified T Mobile and Midlands that they had cashed the check and please update their files and they did not update their files. When I spoke to T Mobile to day 10/30/12 concerning this the person in customer service (Mike ID # 1744243) informed me that it is not T MOBILES job to inform the collection agency that they (T MOBILE) received payment on the 3rd and it cleared my bank account on the 4th of September 2012. He refused to transfer me to a SUPERVISOR in customer service concerning this. All I ask T Mobile to do was notify Midlands that the payment was received so they could clear account as PAID IN FULL. I ‘m not really sure what you have to go through to get your payments posted correctly and for your account to be updated in a timely manner. I HOPE THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE gets it together so T MOBILE doesn’t lose more customers. Maybe the NEW CEO can do a better job making sure things are done properly. Good Luck if you Have T MOBILE and if you don’t my advice is to shop around you may find something better out there after all the service as far as the towers for the phones have a rep. of dropping calls, lost service and dead spots. SO again check around, just because you have an IPHONE doesn’t mean service will be great. I have a RAZOR MAX and LOVE IT. My husband also has it and he accidentally left it on the bumper of his truck it rd about 40 mins before falling off on the main hwy, someone called him to tell him they found his phone and when he got it back it had 1 minor scratch on the end of the phone, so it is a very tough little phone and no it wasn’t in any type of case. I have an otter box on mine that covers just the back and has enough rubber around the front to protect the face and it’s been dropped and knocked off counters and I don’t even panic because I know when I pick it up its going to be fine. And it always is. GREAT PHONE!!!

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  8. I sent a letter to the “NEW” CEO and also put in a call to the local District Manager in regards to “VERY” poor customer service expierence and I have not heard back from either one. I was going to be a new customer with three new lines….OBVIOUSLY they are not in too much trouble or they would have better cusotmer service! They “ONLY” reason why anyone uses them is becaue of their “unlimited deals”! SO DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!!

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  9. 8 years with this company and they still don’t care about customer this all I can say in public

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  10. My experience with T-mobile has been terrible. I signed up for the two-year contract in September of 2012. My new My Touch phone stopped working. I was sent a replacement phone which in my opinon in no way equals the expensive phone I purchased. I returned it and received another phone that I was not satisfied with. I still have to pay the amount for the first phone though I feel this phone in no way equals what I am paying for.

    What should I do?

    SMN

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