t-mobile legere

While Tim Cook was speaking over at The Wall Street Journal’s inaugural WSJ.D Live conference, T-Mobile CEO John Legere joined Ina Fried on stage at Recode’s Code/Mobile event earlier this evening. During the interview, the outspoken executive covered a range of interesting topics.

Among those topics was iPhone 6 demand. Legere said that the debut of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was T-Mobile’s biggest phone launch in company history. He also noted that demand for the larger 6 Plus has been “mind blowing,” accounting for nearly 50% of iPhone 6 mix at one point.

Here are a few notable highlights from the interview:

  • Landing the iPhone: Legere says that when taking over CEO two years ago, his instructions were to “get down on your knees” and grovel to get the device. He adds that iPhones now account for 20% of T-Mobile’s smartphone base, and is still a great opportunity for growth.
  • iPhone Test Drive initiative: When asked how many subscribers T-Mobile has added via its Test Drive promotion, Legere clams not to know. But when pressed, he says, “we offered a million, but possibly added “tens of thousands.”
  • iPhone 6 Plus demand: “Demand for the larger device has been, in a word, “surprising.” I can’t really give specific details on current ratios, but at one point, sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were roughly equal, which no one anticipated.” Legere says that supply and demand for the new handsets is starting to even out, but it will “be a while” before T-Mobile can get to everyone.
  • Clearing up Apple SIM confusion: Legere also spent some time clearing up confusion regarding the Apple SIM, introduced in the Cellular versions of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The feature is meant to allow users to switch seamlessly between data providers, but not all carriers are playing ball. Legere recommends that customers buy their new iPads through Apple, and activate them with T-Mobile, since AT&T and Verizon “didn’t go along with Apple’s vision for flexibility.”

Just before the interview, John Legere and T-Mobile announced their earnings for the September quarter. The carrier posted a surprising net profit loss for the three month period, but added 2.3 million customers (1.4 million  postpaid), making it the biggest growth quarter in company history.

For more on Legere’s Code/Mobile interview, click here.

  • Fofer

    He’s a very forthcoming and entertaining CEO. I’m planning a switch to T-Mobile (after a successful test drive) from Verizon, and I owe a lot of this decision to my admiration of how he leads this company and communicates with customers.

    • Rowan09

      I’m made the switch from AT&T and I don’t regret it at all. The international data and texting sold me (along with unlimited data), since I’m able to speak with my wife on FaceTime Audio anywhere I go.

      • Jack Wong

        The international data did not work when I was in Hong Kong and Taiwan back in 2013 Nov, and no support for that.

        I even have a hard time to activate the account on the iPad because they sent the temporary password to a SMS # and we don’t receive SMS on iPad… it took me almost 2 hours on phone to just activate an account…

        This is what I believe… no free lunch.

    • m3nphls

      Just pray you don’t need your phone when you travel around the states…

      • Fofer

        For that, though, I’ve learned that every carrier sucks in one way or another. No one carrier has great coverage in all spots I may travel, which admittedly, isn’t even often. When I do travel, it’s usually to big cities. In the past, when I have been on road trips with friends, I’ve noticed that they (on T-Mobile) had the same signal (if not better!) than I did. I think T-Mobile’s footprint is getting better all the time. And WiFi Calling will help immeasurably.

        As mentioned I did a 7 day “Test Drive” with an iPhone 5S that T-Mobile lent me. I did a battery of signal and speed tests everywhere I went in SoCal for that week. There wasn’t a single time that Verizon had a better or faster signal. The difference was stark and T-Mobile won each and every time (sometimes with double the speed.) I was very surprised.

        It seems clear to me that T-Mobile embraces new tech (services, phones, innovations) a lot more willingly and aggressively than the others, especially more than Verizon, which always drags its feet… there are too many examples of this to list.

        I also think it’s worth saving 50% monthly, even if I have to deal with the occasional signal issue. They’re granting unlimited data for the first year. After that, their plans are cheaper and they don’t even count music streaming from the most popular apps, against your data cap.

        The fact of the matter is, T-Mobile’s paying the $350 ETF for me to switch and if I’m not happy, I can always switch to back to Verizon, or yet another provider (and get yet another new phone on subsidized discount) at no cost.