Why T-Mobile’s maverick approach isn’t sustainable

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
What, me worry? Photo: T-Mobile
Photo: T-Mobile

From its outspoken CEO with his unabashed Apple love, to the company’s insistence on trying unorthodox strategies to hook customers, there’s plenty to like about T-Mobile. Plenty to like, that is, unless you work on the business side of things.

In a new interview, Timotheus Höttges, CEO of T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom, says that while he loves the carrier’s “super-maverick” approach to the mobile business, it’s just not sustainable in the long term.

T-Mobile CEO was told to grovel to get the iPhone on his network

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T-Mobile CEO
T-Mobile CEO John Legere was told to grovel to get the iPhone on his network. It seems to have paid off. Photo: GeekWire Summit 2014

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is one of my favorite people in high tech right now. Not only is he doing a great job of turning T-Mobile business around, but in an industry that’s often dominated by buzzwords and corporate speak, he may just be the most publicly outspoken executive since Steve Jobs.

During Recode’s Code/Mobile event yesterday, Legere took the stage to talk about a few topics key to T-Mobile’s turnaround — and, wouldn’t you know it, the iPhone was mentioned pretty heavily.

Legere mentioned that his explicit instructions upon taking over as T-Mobile CEO was to “get down on your knees” and grovel to get the iPhone on his network, which he finally managed (the deal that is, presumably not the literal grovelling) in April 2013. The strategy apparently paid off, too, since the iPhone now accounts for 20% of the carrier’s smartphone base.

T-Mobile CEO dismisses Bendgate as total “horse****”

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T-Mobile CEO
T-Mobile CEO John Legere thinks Bendgate is being blown out of proportion. In slightly ruder words. Photo: GeekWire Summit 2014

You can talk about stress testing and Apple’s potential liability until you’re blue in the face, but sometimes you need to just speak about overblown subjects like the Bendgate controversy using a shred of common sense.

Happily taking up that baton is T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who responded to questions about Apple’s allegedly bendable iPhone 6 Plus at this year’s GeekWire Summit 2014 with a distinctly non-corporate-sounding statement. Simply put: try bending that brand new super computer handset you’ve paid good money for and you’re a f****ing idiot.

Well, someone had to say it.