T-Mobile buys airwaves from Verizon, John Legere crashes AT&T’s CES 2014 party

By , Jan 7, 2014

John Legere (Uncarrier 001)

As first hinted back in November, Deutsche Telekom-owned Un-carrier, T-Mobile USA, just bought $3.3 billion worth of spectrum from Verizon Wireless, the nation’s top wireless carrier announced yesterday. The newly gained 700MHz spectrum licenses from Verizon should allow T-Mobile to take advantage of the low-band airwaves in nine of the top ten U.S. markets and 21 of the top 30.

What’s in it for you? Think better 4G coverage in rural areas and inside buildings. T-Mobile paid $2.36 billion in cash and $950 million worth of spectrum, by the way.

Oh, and T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere trolled AT&T’s CES 2014 party like a boss and got thrown out in the process. More on that right below…

The additional airwaves will also support T-Mobile’s LTE rollout across the country. Verizon expects that the transactions, pending an FCC approval, will close in the first half of 2014.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on CES 2014 news, chances are you’ve heard about T-Mobile CEO John Legere crashing AT&T’s CES party yesterday.

Legere (a David) got booted from the event AT&T (a Goliath) was throwing for its developers at the Palms Hotel after appearing wearing his familiar magenta T-Mobile shirt under a leather jacket, per Re/Code, a new technology news venture by former WSJ technology columnists and AllThingsD editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

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Jonh Legere poses at CES 2014 with CNET’s Roger Cheng.

He got hauled out of the venue by security guards within fifteen minutes – a total lack of class on AT&T’s part. I mean, why exactly shouldn’t John Legere be allowed to attend an AT&T event? He wore a company T-shirt, so what?

“All of a sudden these gigantic goons said ‘Can I talk to you over here,’ ” Legere said, in an interview outside the Venetian hotel later on Monday, adding that he was told that if he didn’t leave immediately he would be charged with trespassing. Legere said he was also escorted from the premises.

And all he wanted was to see Mackelmore.

Way to stick it to AT&T!

What AT&T can’t seem to comprehend is that showing Legere the door has generated huge publicity for T-Mobile. That AT&T couldn’t refrain itself and handle the situation in a more gracious way tells me John Legere is clearly doing something right.

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“Why don’t you just bring back the rotary dialer while you’re at it,” Legere wrote in a tweet accompanying this image.

Besides, throwing your competitor’s top dog from your own party is a sign of bad blood brewing between AT&T and T-Mobile. It just echoes heightened competition after T-Mobile’s non-appologetic approach to ending long-term carrier deals with their device installment plans and affordable service.

We got first glimpse of the nervousness on AT&T’s part when the nation’s second-largest telco said last week it would offer up to $450 worth of credit to T-Mobile’s prepaid customers who would jump ship.

The offer was met with ridicule among tech circles and T-Mobile was quick to issue the following executive statement on its website:

This is a desperate move by AT&T on the heels of what must have been a terrible Q4 and holiday for them. I’m flattered that we have made them so uncomfortable! We used AT&T’s cash to build a far superior network and added Un-carrier moves to take tons of their customers – and now they want to bribe them back!

Consumers won’t be fooled…nothing has changed; customers will still feel the same old pain that AT&T is famous for. Just wait until CES to hear what pain points we are eliminating next.

The competition is going to be toast!

Signed: John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile USA

Classy!

Here’s T-Mobile’s Christmas iPhone ad.

The AT&T CES party situation is yet another reason why I’m being sympathetic to John Legere: here’s an extroverted, fierce and fearless CEO who doesn’t shy away from swearing in public, calling out his competitors and exposing their service plans for what they (mostly) are: a rip off.

It’s war and Legere is the new Sun Tzu!

And in the process of doing so, he made me a believer.

Oh, and he has a magenta Batman signal on his Twitter bio background!

For those wondering: more borderline-crazy stuff is coming from T-Mobile tomorrow, Legere teased in a tweet, and we heard Un-carrier 4.0 will eliminate another major customer pain point.

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  • Merman123

    Is T-Mobile well accepted in other cities? Here where I live, having t-mobile is kind of an embarrassment.

    • Keir Dicus

      It’s pretty well accepted here in my city.
      And now that they have acquired the 700 MHz spectrum I think it will only attract more customers

    • Nate McKelvie

      It’s definitely not as good of service as other carriers, but it’s quickly gaining ground, and here in San Francisco, it’s extremely popular

      • Merman123

        Nice! wasn’t trying to be rude .. was just wondering because I have a couple of buddies that have T-Mobile, and one of the main reasons they jailbreak is to be able to change the carrier name. I find it funny, but I guess that should say something.

      • Nate McKelvie

        No offense here, I ditched t-mobile years ago because the service wasn’t good enough for me lol. I was just letting you know that around here t-mobile is extremely popular because it’s cheaper and now with no contract options it’s really gaining ground. I actually really thank t-mobile because they are shaking up the industry

    • TinTonB

      I’m with T-Mobile in the UK, got an amazing deal from them, excellent signal where ever I go as well.

      (this was 7 months ago) iPhone 5 (new); Unlimited Texts, 200 Minutes and Unlimited Data – Handset was £99. 24 months @ £25. Love it! :D

    • Justin

      For me it something to be proud of, and I can’t wait till tomorrow. Just like Jeff, I got won over by their CEO, and bold Uncarrier moves.

  • Keir Dicus

    Haha way to go john!
    It’s nice to see someone take a stand against the crap at AT&T

  • FrankensteinBlack

    Oh, Johnny stop poking that Grizzly while your pants is down with honey schmered all over your arse. Work on that network will ya…

  • asdfasdf

    It would be cool if T-mobile (Telekom) would be like this in Germany. Telekom is here like AT&T in the USA. Totally overpriced.

  • Coney

    Im in NYC and tmobile is fine here. Dont get me wrong it used to be crap but in the past year or 2 they really have improved. My LTE speeds are equal to and sometimes faster than AT&T but for much less $$. Now with this Verizon deal i can look forward to even better coverage.

  • Daniel Hernández

    Love what T mobile has been doing the last couple of years, when I first left at&t for T mobile I did not get 4g in a lot of places and cellular signal was spotty but my god what a turn around!!! Now I get LTE just about every where in Northern, East, West and South of California, it’s awesome and don’t get me wrong there is still work to do in some areas mostly with the cellular signal but now that T mobile just got more bandwidth is no wonder why at&t is nervous, worry and they very well should be, at this pace by 2016 T mobile will be the #2 carrier unless at&t changes their evil ways, well actually more like greededy ways of ripping off their customers with their over price plans.
    What John Legere is doing got my attention and respect more and more every day and the winner in all this is us the customer, long live Legere

  • n0ahcruz3

    Lol this is one of my favorite CEOs right now.