John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile
Writing these blogs over the past few weeks has given me a great opportunity to tell you all about our merger with Sprint – and all the benefits it will bring consumers across the country. But wait! I still have A LOT more to say (…you know I always do!).
I thought I’d start this blog by posing a few important questions.
How happy are you with your wireless service today?
How about your cable or satellite service?
Has it been getting better and cheaper lately?
If you live in a rural community, do you feel like you have real choices for both mobile and broadband services?
What about if you need support – how is the customer service you get?
If you’re a Carrier or Cableopoly customer, I suspect the words coming out of your mouth when you answer those questions aren’t very positive ones. I don’t blame you. It’s because as a customer, millions of you are being failed every single day. Frankly, those guys don’t care, because they don’t have to. They WANT you to pay more for less, deal with long waits for bad service and are perfectly happy if millions of you don’t have any alternative service options – it makes it easier for them to keep you right where you are! These guys love living in their happy just-as-it’s-always-been-don’t-ever-change, world – where customers are trampled and ignored day in and day out. Why? Because it benefits their bottom line, and… because they can get away with it!
Don’t be fooled. This is EXACTLY why they are terrified of the New T-Mobile and EXACTLY why they’re waging a well-funded campaign to try to oppose our merger. These guys are scared of change and they’re fighting HARD to defend and protect the status quo that they love so much. Problem is no one else is going to love what the status quo looks like if we stay on this course for the future. Especially consumers! Let me paint a picture of what these guys are defending… (spoiler alert: this is just ugly…).
The Big Guys Continuing to Suffocate Innovation
The wireless landscape has changed a lot over the past five years in so many good ways, thanks in large part to the Un-carrier’s relentless focus on solving customer pain points that has FORCED others to follow suit or be left behind. Regardless, we can’t ignore that AT&T and Verizon still continue to control 80% of the Big 4 profitability and have 70% of the wireless market share. Even with the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T would each still have nearly three times the market cap of the combined companies. Imagine the spread if T-Mobile and Sprint did not get to merge at all. I’m glancing into my crystal ball and what I see are two lumbering behemoths at the controls with no compelling reason to innovate or push forward on behalf of consumers – or our country – anytime soon. And here comes Comcast… just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse!
This is why we need the New T-Mobile. This deal would create a strong third competitor to AT&T and Verizon – and also put us in a position to compete against cable. The New T-Mobile will put the Un-carrier into overdrive fighting for consumers, driving change and eliminating pain points. It will provide many more American customers what they deserve: lower prices, better service and more choice.
5G: Smoke and Mirrors
Speaking of innovation (or potential lack of it)… The world is at the precipice of a hugerevolution with 5G. But as it stands today, American consumers are a long way off from seeing its FULL benefits. If we leave it up to AT&T and Verizon, the country will be stuck with the status quo – the same-old 4G technology in the US for far too long. As the world races to real, transformational 5G, we could plod along with spotty attempts at 5G infrastructure for YEARS to come.
In one corner, we have Verizon clinging to a limited mmWave plan that will light up 5G ONLY in tiny pockets of urban areas – not to mention their plans to raise prices by $10 a month for their few square blocks of 5G in a few big cities. In the other corner, we have AT&T calling 4G “5GE” because they finally realized that mmWave will never provide broad coverage and they’re terrified of how long it will take them to clear enough low-band spectrum to bring 5G to their customers nationwide. And their fake 5G or 5GE isn’t even fast! In fact, a recent study showedthat T-Mobile’s 4G offering is actually faster than AT&T’s so-called 5GE! That’s BS, NOT progress.
This isn’t the 5G consumers deserve! The lack of competition will leave the US behind in a 5G future where Verizon and AT&T slowly work to deliver something to consumers. The good news is the New T-Mobile has no intention to stand for that. We have a plan to upend this status quo.A nearly $40 billion investment will deliver the first broad AND deep truly nationwide 5G network – from big cities to rural America. Consumers around the country would be covered with a whopping 400 MHz+ total spectrum! The New T-Mobile’s 5G would fuel innovation in every industry, unleash new economic growth and help bridge the Digital Divide in our country. It would create thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in value for consumers and give people more choice and more opportunity. In fact, American leadership in 5G would create three million new jobs and add $500 billion to the economy!
Broadband: Bad is Not Good Enough
America’s broadband industry is failing us. In-home broadband options are shockingly limited for millions of Americans, allowing providers to charge whatever they want. The status quo has left nearly 30% of American households with ZERO access or access to only one fixed broadband provider and nearly HALF of all US households with NO competitive choice for in-home broadband service faster than 100 Mbps. That is nearly 55 million American households that live completely at the mercy of ONE company for at-home access to the most important services in the digital era! With the status quo, customer service can stay awful, and prices will continue to creep up.
Clearly the status quo is not good enough… but fortunately, 5G isn’t just for traditional wireless. It will enable us to enter new markets like in-home broadband and bring competition to the Cableopoly that will bring new value and service for consumers. Say goodbye to that hefty $80 or more monthly bill! Even customers who don’t sign up for New T-Mobile’s broadband service will benefit as the incumbent providers will be forced to lower their prices. In fact, it is estimated that, that by entering the in-home broadband market the New T-Mobile would save consumers up to $13.65 BILLION a year by 2024. Capacity? Yep! Speeds? Yep! The New T-Mobile will be able to blanket high-capacity coverage over large parts of previously difficult-to-serve areas, including underserved rural communities.
Rural America: Left Behind for Too Long
Nowhere has the status quo had a more dramatic impact than in our rural communities across the country. The entrenched players seem to have no real interest or incentive to compete for small towns, which means rural customers don’t get the access, price or service they deserve. As I said, roughly half of American households lack competitive choice for high-speed (100 Mbps downloads or faster) broadband… that number jumps to 76% for rural America! Wireless is not much better.
A recent study in South Dakota reported half of all respondents saying that wireless coverage was a problem. Some even said they own multiple phones on multiple carriers to just cover their daily commutes.
The New T-Mobile will change that by deploying a higher quality and more robust network to rural America, giving rural consumers improved wireless and service. It will also bring a new, attractive in-home broadband option to over 52% of U.S. zip codes, with a plan to obtain 9.5 million U.S. households by 2024, with 20% of these homes located in currently underserved rural areas. New T-Mobile also plans to build 600 additional New T-Mobile retail locations to better serve small towns and rural America.
Customer Service Status Quo: Talking to Robots
I think my feelings on the state of customer service have been made pretty clear. I absolutely cannot believe that AT&T and Verizon and the Cableopoly get away with the crap they do to customers today. Endless phone trees, robots, horrible hold music… I’ll save the rant but it’s pretty clear on this one that the status quo SUCKS.
I’ve talked about how the New T-Mobile will bring T-Mobile’s innovative Team of Experts (TEX) model to customers and will add five new Customer Experience Centers to the mix to do so (and creating jobs as a result!). Customers will have direct personal access to a dedicated team of specialists when they call or message for assistance – you know, actual humans! And who would’ve known that this actually leads to happy and satisfied customers? (We did!!)
Who Does the Status Quo Actually Benefit?
Make no mistake – Verizon and AT&T know full-well what type of market we’ll be left with if T-Mobile and Sprint don’t merge to become the New T-Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint will still fight against the competition – but it will be a steep uphill battle. The status quo is just fine for the AT&T, Verizon and the Cableopoly but is it fine for anyone else? Consumers? No. American innovation? Certainly not. They’re fighting to protect it – for themselves. Well guess what? We’ve figured them out and called them on their BS. And we’ll keep doing it! The status quo can and should end – but that will only truly be possible with the New T-Mobile emerging as a bigger, stronger, even more competitive version of the Un-carrier.