CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW — Calling AT&T's wireless network in New York City "crap," T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere livened up what has thus far been a CES lacking in a ton of exciting announcements.
How quickly things change. Just a year ago at this time, we thought there was a good chance that Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile would be merging with the old Ma Bell. But that proposed mega-merger was pulled after it became apparent it wouldn't get approved.
Legere, the former CEO at Global Crossing who took over the reins at T-Mobile last year, spoke to an audience at Las Vegas' Venetian Casino & Hotel Tuesday, announcing his company's plans to debut a 4G LTE network of its own by the end of this year, PC World reported, and adding that he expects it will be faster than AT&T's and Verizon's.
Following up the company's announcement last fall that it would start selling Apple's iconic iPhone for the first time in 2013 – although without subsidizing it – Legere told Reuters on Tuesday that Magenta Network customers will get their hands on the device sooner than later, "in three to four months as opposed to six to nine months."
T-Mobile plans to eliminate all handset subsidies – not just for the iPhone – later this year. That means you'll be paying more up front for your favorite devices, but no-contract monthly payments will be cheaper. Legere hopes the move will raise his company's market share by 5 percent or more.
America's fourth-largest wireless carrier announced a plan last fall to acquire MetroPCS, the fifth-largest, and the company might not be done with M&A. Legere told Reuters that a potential acquisition of Leap Wireless – the parent company of wireless provider Cricket Communications – is "one of those things that makes extreme sense for us to look at." While an immediate challenge to Verizon Wireless and AT&T might be a bit of a stretch, the merger and the subsidy-elimination plan could put it in a better position to compete with Sprint, the No. 3 carrier.
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