As the latest year of the future folds into the next, the most bombastic/annoying/entertaining of CEOs sets his gaze on the technologies that will define the wireless space and the company he is at the helm of.
Just as he did last year, T-Mobile CEO John Legere published his list of predictions for tech in 2016. Though most of his predictions won’t surprise anyone (they’re pretty much what everyone else is saying: Drones and VR will be huge), he did address talk about the broader wireless markets and T-Mobile’s prospects for taking part in the further consolidation of U.S. wireless markets.
After waxing poetic on the unprecedented success of the last 33 months of the Un-carrier revolution, Legere chatted about the potential for improving customer satisfaction in telecommunications, an area that he says “Dumb and Dumber” (his pet names for TechCrunch’s corporate overlord Verizon, as well AT&T) have struggled with significantly. He cited a study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index that says wireless providers rank 32nd out of 37 industries in terms of customer satisfaction.
This will probably be a pretty significant year for T-Mobile as the regulatory powers-that-be carry out the lowland spectrum auctions that will allow smaller field players like T-Mobile, Sprint and other carriers that aren’t Verizon and AT&T to secure their slice of the spectrum.
There were more than a few acquisition rumors among the smaller players in the wireless space this year, and Legere doesn’t see that changing in 2016. In language that sounded worryingly similar to Donald Trump, Legere directly addressed continuing rumors that T-Mobile is in prime position for a buyout and clarified that the company would “continue to compete and win on [their] own.”
Rumors about consolidation in wireless will continue this year, and Dish will be tap dancing in at least half of them. I am sure we’ll see at least 3 different versions of new M&A ideas and rumors in US Wireless this year, and I’m sure T-Mobile will be in the middle of all of them! But the reality is that I am sure this industry will look incredibly different in a few years, one way or another, and no matter what happens T-Mobile will be positioned for success!
He also lauded T-Mobile’s success over the past year in eating away at the successes of the major networks:
Since we brought the Un-carrier revolution to US business − with simple, 100% transparent pricing and a load of benefits − the number of businesses choosing T-Mobile has quadrupled. American businesses are fed up with backroom deals, overages and overcharging from AT&T and Verizon.
Legere also dropped some further details on the growth of T-Mobile’s somewhat controversial Binge On and Music Freedom programs that allow consumers to watch and listen to media from content partners without eating into their data allowances. It seems they’ve been definite wins for T-Mobile customers but detractors worry that the promotions set worrying precedents in terms of net neutrality concerns.
Regardless, Legere announced that Binge On would be continuing to add video streaming services in 2016, detailing the addition of at least 24 more new services.
In terms of the broader tech markets, the T-Mobile CEO seemed to think drones and VR/AR would hit major turning points in 2016. To be fair, these are the kind of things everyone is saying, and though Legere was fooled along with many into believing that 2015 would be the year that wearables became ubiquitous, drones are already seeing tons of practical application and VR is seeing major leaps (though we may be bit further away from turning points for the technology in the consumer side).
Interestingly, one area that Legere doesn’t appear to be overly bullish on in 2016 is the adoption of mobile payments. He simply sees 2016 as a growing period for services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and others.
It seems Legere is pretty psyched for what 2016 has to bring, and with what it seems the larger wireless telecom environment already has in store, it’s clear that T-Mobile will have some major chances to use it’s greater flexibility among wireless carriers to woo new customers and impact the broader space as a whole.