T-Mobile CEO John Legere came out swinging at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The fourth-largest telecom will offer up to $650 in credits to cover early-termination fees and phone trade-ins for customers who switch over from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, Legere announced Wednesday in a speech at CES.
“We’re giving families a ‘Get Out of Jail Free card,’ ” Legere said. “Carriers have counted on staggered contract end dates and hefty early termination fees to keep people bound to them forever. But now families can switch to T-Mobile without paying a single red cent to leave them behind.”
This move is part of Legere’s broader vision to upend the entire wireless industry since taking over as CEO in 2012.
“We will become famous for this in 2014,” Legere said. “We’re going to force the industry to change. I want every customer to have a complete choice. It’s going to be a healthier industry.”
After a near-death experience in 2011 when regulators blocked an AT&T and T-Mobile merger, T-Mobile has a new lease on life. The company has added 4.4 million new customers in 2013.
T-Mobile introduced a string of offerings over to the last year — such as cheaper plans and more-flexible upgrade options — to woo customers away from AT&T and Verizon.
Legere’s flair is also piquing customers’ interests. The salty CEO, whose pink T-Mobile shirt and cheeky tweets have been a ubiquitous presence at the country’s largest tech conference, gained notoriety earlier this week when he was escorted out of AT&T’s party at CES.
T-Mobile’s defiant behaviour is forcing its competitors on the defensive. AT&T preempted T-Mobile earlier this week with a $450 offering to T-Mobile customers, and began a marketing blitz to promote its speed. Verizon introduced a cheaper plan to match T-Mobile’s plan in 2013.
The wireless industry’s underdog has a long way to go, however, before it catches up with AT&T and Verizon. The two largest telecom companies’ high-speed networks service two-thirds of the country’s mobile customers and cover a much wider territory. But T-Mobile is chipping away in both areas.
T-Mobile reached a $3.3 billion deal with Verizon earlier this week to purchase a swath of low-band frequencies — the most coveted type of spectrum because of its ability to penetrate buildings in high-density areas and travel further distances in low-population areas. T-Mobile’s first low-band acquisition will help improve its service in key areas, such as New York and Los Angeles.
Sprint floated the idea of a merger with T-Mobile in December, according to people familiar with the matter. Such a merger would likely encounter formidable regulatory opposition, especially in light of T-Mobile’s resurgence.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."