John Legere is making cell phone plans even simpler. In his latest "UnCarrier" move unveiled at CES Thursday, the T-Mobile CEO said he's shaving taxes and fees off service plans and dropping all the company's non-unlimited, postpaid plans.
Legere also gave an optimistic assessment of the Trump administration, acted coy about a Sprint merger, and badmouthed cable companies' attempts to enter the wireless market.
Legere and Trump had a Twitter feud in 2015, but have gotten "way past it," the CEO said.
"It's hard not to be excited as a carrier on the potential items associated with a regulatory environment that's going to be less restrictive," Legere said. "Clearly we feel quite positive, and our planning for 2017 is being boosted by anticipation of a good economy and a regulatory environment that's conducive to us significantly expanding our business...I look forward to spending some time, if I get to meet the President-elect, and talking."
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That expansion may involve a merger. "It's pretty clear that Sprint needs to do something ... in the structure of the industry, there are a number of people that think [a merger] may make sense from a scale standpoint, or Sprint may be acquired by a cable player."
Those cable players, meanwhile, will have a very hard time in the market, Legere predicted. He said Comcast and Spectrum will enter the wireless market this year using Verizon's network, and will be back out by 2018 having failed to attract customers. "Those bastards have no idea what real comeptition is, so bring the f**kers in and stick them on the pile," he said.
Google, which already uses T-Mobile's network as part of its Google Fi service, would be a more agile competitor if it decided to go big, he said. "I think Google's coming," he said.
NEW PLANS CUT FEES
Legere's wide-ranging comments were actually a sidebar to the day's main announcement, which is that T-Mobile is casting off its Simple Choice plans and only offering its T-Mobile One unlimited plan, which costs $70 for one line, $120 for two, $140 for three, and $160 for four.
That will cost less than it appears, because the company is including all taxes and fess in the upfront prices, something none of the other carriers do with their postpaid plans (and T-Mobile didn't do, until now.) For instance, my personal three-line, $120 plan has more than $20 in monthly taxes stacked on top of it.
The company will also refund $10/month for every line that uses less than 2GB of data, something T-Mobile is calling "kickbacks."
That still means T-Mobile won't be advertising any postpaid plans under $70, which may scare some customers away. But people looking for cheaper, single-line plans typically go to prepaid plans anyway, COO Mike Sievert said.
The company's CTO, Neville Ray, pledged to fill in many of the remaining gaps in T-Mobile's LTE coverage map this year and said that it will get to gigabit LTE before Sprint does, using 50MHz of licensed spectrum in unnamed metro areas. "Our network is leading. It's the fastest up, fastest down, and the best latencies, you name it. A gigabit per second is a great milestone for us to chase," Ray said.