T-Mobile’s John Legere on iPhone 6 demand, Apple SIM, and more

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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.