T-Mobile's Legere: We Are the Un-Cable, Too

T-Mobile CEO John Legere plans to tell Congress Wednesday (Feb. 13) that if it is allowed to combine with Sprint, it will not only be the un-carrier competitor to AT&T and Verizon, but something of an un-cable competitor, too, with 5G helping to drive cord-cutting and prompt price cuts by cable ops.

Just as in-home broadband has gone mobile via WiFi hotspots, Legere says a combined T-Mobile/Sprint will ramp up in-home competition with fiber speeds on its mobile network.

That is according to Legere's prepared testimony for a House Communications Subcommittee hearing on the proposed merger.

Legere and T-Mobile are billing the deal as the way to get the fastest 5G buildout by combining assets. With that 5G rollout, it argues, will come new competition not just to mobile carriers, but to in-home cable broadband and video providers.

"We will bring new competition to Big Cable in two ways," he argues. One is the speed and capacity to offer "an affordable in-home high-speed broadband service to millions of American households—"consumers hate their cable and wireline broadband choices," he says, sounding like the maverick he promises the newer, bigger, company will remain. The other is that with those fiber-like speeds for broadband across its mobile network, "many T-Mobile customers will be able to 'cut the cord' entirely and eliminate a separate broadband charge—saving hundreds of dollars a year!"

He says the cable industry will have to respond "and prices will drop even more!...Comcast, Charter, and the other players won’t stand still as they will be forced to react fast or lose even more customers to New T-Mobile!"

Legere suggests that the combined company will be bringing that high-speed service to rural areas that cable companies "ignore" and has its eye on enterprise (business) broadband services as well.

Many remain unpersuaded of that scenario, with a bunch of high-profile Democratic senators/presidential candidates coming out against the deal Tuesday and arguing it will neither cut prices nor benefit consumers and that the nimble T-Mobile will morph into another 800 pound gorilla with the addition of Sprint.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.