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

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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.

As it is, the company requires investments of between $4 billion and $5 billion each year just to keep up with leading carriers AT&T and Verizon.

The only answer? T-Mobile being acquired by another company willing to stump up the money, apparently.

This almost happened last year, with Sprint making a play for T-Mobile — only for plans to be scuppered because U.S. regulators weren’t keen on shrinking the number of mobile carrier competitors from four down to three.

Höttges also notes that T-Mobile CEO John Legere isn’t … to everyone’s tastes.

“His management style will never be adaptable to Germany,” Höttges noted. “I like people being disruptive…. I like people who are brave. He is very much fitting to our DNA, how we want to be — even if he is very American in his approach.”

It’s a somewhat backhanded compliment and a bit of a sobering view of a carrier that seems to be getting more and more people on its side. As with many plucky upstarts, T-Mobile is certainly more willing to engage in innovation than a stuck-in-its-ways giant like AT&T.

It’s also a reminder of how unusual it is that Apple gets to play both the fearless outspoken innovator and the giant standard-bearer. Not every company is afforded that luxury!

Source: Re/code