Live blog: T-Mobile at CES

T-Mobile CES 2014

What will T-Mobile do next? We’ll find out at the Consumer Electronics Show: T-Mobile’s press event is kicking off and I’m here to live to see what John Legere and company have to say.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:45:42 pm

Thanks for following along on what was one of the most colorful press events I’ve ever attended!

Kevin C. Tofel 1:45:13 pm

Looks like we’re wrapping up. Clearly, T-Mobile has dangled a big carrot in front of other carrier’s customers. I’m looking forward to see quarterly results next time around.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:43:50 pm

Doesn’t sound like the company sees a need to change the current plan.

Kevin Fitchard 1:43:31 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 1:43:12 pm

A question about T-Mobile’s current family plans and any possible restructuring.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:41:58 pm

Some discussion on how T-Mobile is using social media and how the new initiatives go viral. Smart way to advertise without paying for advertising.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:32:49 pm

A: Neville says low-band frequencies can help attack those locations. Can’t tell you we’ll do it overnight, he says.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:31:41 pm

Good question on something I alluded to earlier: what about coverage outside of metro areas?

Kevin C. Tofel 1:30:12 pm

T-Mobile customers still on contract can take advantage of the new programs.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:28:57 pm

Time for Q&A!

Kevin C. Tofel 1:28:24 pm

Sievert is showing off a “break up letter” to help you leave your carrier. Too funny. And another twist of the knife in AT&T’s back.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:27:18 pm

With full value of smartphones on the trade-in, you could make money on the phone — assuming you bought it on contract. To get the ETF reimbursed, you send a copy of your final carrier bill (or upload it).

Kevin C. Tofel 1:25:48 pm

All phones are now $0 down for well-qualified customers. Why? Because if you switch, you still have to buy a T-Mobile phone.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:25:19 pm

Up to 5 lines covered, up to $350 per line, and up to $300 of an instant credit for a smartphone trade-in. Obviously if you have an older phone you won’t get $300 for it. This is a best case situation. 

Kevin C. Tofel 1:24:15 pm

Staggered expiration dates on family plans are a pain point, says Sievert. So the ETFs are all different and add up. 

Kevin C. Tofel 1:23:09 pm

Mike Sievert is now on stage for more details. Typical family of 4 would save $1,880 over 2 years on T-Mobile now; not sure which plan that is.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:22:05 pm

Legere says if you’re on another carrier, come on over and try the network. If it doesn’t work, the other guys will pay you to come back. 

Kevin C. Tofel 1:20:45 pm

Here’s the deal: Starting tomorrow, T-Mobile will pay up to $350 per line ETF and up to $300 for a smartphone trade in. Whoa, that’s huge and will get anyone easily out of a contract to be a T-Mobile customer.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:18:38 pm

Legere: Customers want to switch to T-Mobile but are handcuffed by the EFTs. Here comes another video….

Kevin C. Tofel 1:17:28 pm

“ETFs are another form of phone subsidy.” True that. It ensures that carriers get back the investment in subsidized handsets.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:16:41 pm

Time to talk about ETF’s or Early Termination Fees for contracts.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:16:21 pm

Legere: “I’m going to send a cease & desist to have AT&T take down their fastest network ads.” OUCH!

Kevin C. Tofel 1:15:35 pm

And now back to Legere. I’m going to duck because I feel like something is going to get thrown off the stage.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:15:07 pm

Neville is super excited by the new 700 MHz spectrum T-Mobile just bought from Verizon. “We’ll make progress this year with it.”

Kevin C. Tofel 1:14:01 pm

The one topic missing here (by design I’m sure) is outside of major cities. Sure the speeds are great in metro areas but not everyone lives in them.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:13:18 pm

I’ve heard more expletives here today than my son hears in high school. Just saying.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:12:07 pm

Turning to handsets now in how they relate to the network. “Your LTE device is already compatible with T-Mobile wideband LTE.” No need to upgrade phones to gain benefit of the faster network.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:10:41 pm

Now we have a comparison of T-Mo wideband LTE and AT&T home broadband. Of course T-Mobile is faster in this demo. More AT&T trashing albeit a little less over the top.

Kevin Fitchard 1:09:52 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 1:09:34 pm

“We have the spectrum to rollout wideband LTE.”

Kevin C. Tofel 1:08:50 pm

Neville now talking about carriers just planning HD Voice; something T-Mobile has available for 10 million customers.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:07:15 pm

Oh, and Sprint is at 7.9 Mbps on this chart. It’s their 5 x 5 network that has a long way to go, says Nevile.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:06:19 pm

Neville has chart of speed tests from December. T-Mobile: 17.8 Mbps on average. Verizon and AT&T are in the 14.3 to 14.7 range. Again, this data is reportedly from SpeedTest users.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:05:33 pm

“Our network has the most consistently fast LTE.” 

Kevin Fitchard 1:04:52 pm

Whoa, that’s quite a claim Neville. Did AT&T pay PCMag and RootMetrics to perform it’s tests? I see his point that the tests are old data and T-Mobile has gotten a long way, but that statement deserved a little more nuance.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:04:37 pm

Big crowdsourcing theme on this topic: getting network speeds. Probably better than controlled tests.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:03:36 pm

He’s talking about how carriers get data on speed tests and such. “We rolled out our LTE network in 9 months,” but the data carriers have about their network speed is older than that. I’m skeptical on that.

Kevin Fitchard 1:03:28 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 1:01:56 pm

Neville has no Red Bull.

Kevin C. Tofel 1:01:32 pm

The 20 x 20 network has download speeds at 147 Mbps; 10 x 10 is half that. Of course that’s best case testing and doesn’t take congestion and other variables into account. Neville Ray is up next to talk about the network in more detail.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:59:53 pm

Legere says T-Mobile is looking at all of the Ookla Speedtest data and it shows that the network is the fastest where people are most using their devices. “For once we agree with AT&T: Faster is better.”

Kevin C. Tofel 12:58:08 pm

Legere: T-Mobile is now the fastest 4G LTE network in the nation.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:56:51 pm

And here comes a video with competitors network claims.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:56:22 pm

Legere seems to be queuing up some network news…..

Kevin C. Tofel 12:55:50 pm

Data usage internationally is up tenfold since the Uncarrier 3.0 changes of free overseas data. 

Kevin C. Tofel 12:54:52 pm

12.2 million customers are now on Simple Choice plans. If everyone on the other 3 carriers switched, consumers would save $20 billion. That may be true, but you need coverage, John…..

Kevin Fitchard 12:53:54 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 12:53:25 pm

Legere is just on fire. He really should consider a second career in standup.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:52:28 pm

“We’re either going to take over this whole industry or these b*stards are going to change. Either way, I’m fine.”

Kevin C. Tofel 12:51:40 pm

Total net adds for the year: 4.4 million. “A turn around in one year.”

Kevin C. Tofel 12:51:18 pm

Legere is showing off the Uncarrier trend: after quarters of losses, last four are up massively.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:49:59 pm

869,000 total postpaid net adds in Q4. Best quarter in eight years. 69,000 tablets were added; likely by the free 200 MB of data. Churn is down to 1.87%. 

Kevin C. Tofel 12:49:01 pm

T-Mo is America’s fastest growing wireless company, Legere says. It added more customers than any other carrier in the last quarter. In Q4, it added more than 1.6 million. Sounds like Uncarrier is working.

Tom Krazit 12:47:44 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 12:47:08 pm

“Sponsored data is the biggest horse**** in the world. I can smell Uncarrier 9 on that one coming.” Legere is just ripping on AT&T left and right.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:45:23 pm

“AT&T is a total source of amusement for me.” You think?

Kevin C. Tofel 12:45:02 pm

Just a guess but AT&T is likely next.

Tom Krazit 12:44:50 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 12:44:34 pm

“Sprint is a pile of spectrum waiting to be turned into capability.” Apparently, the bashing isn’t over. He’s making fun of “that Sparky” feature they’re rolled out. 

Kevin C. Tofel 12:43:37 pm

“One of the biggest evils in this industry in the family plan. It’s a contract on super steriods.”

Wow, the bashing was over quick!

Kevin C. Tofel 12:42:52 pm

Here comes the bashing. 

Props to Verzion, Legere says because it realizes it has network speed issues. 

Kevin C. Tofel 12:42:01 pm

Sounds like we’re going to get a summary of the prior year of T-Mobile’s Uncarrier moves. A year ago it was all about spectrum and subsidization. 

Kevin C. Tofel 12:39:41 pm

Legere is explaining how he got thrown out of the AT&T party last night. “There were 4 gigantic human beings that said they wanted to speak to me outside.” Yikes! Ok, John, let’s hear the T-Mo news….

Kevin C. Tofel 12:38:25 pm

He’s got Red Bull in hand along with a t-shirt with his pic and the tagline of “I was just here to see Macklemore”.

Kevin C. Tofel 12:37:19 pm

It’s a cozy, intimate room here with LOTS of pink. And here comes John Legere to the stage!


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