Of CEO high horses, mobile service rip offs and T-Mobile uncarrier events

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

So I was watching the video of the announcement of Uncarrier 9.0 by T-Mobile in the USA. It may seem irrelevant bcoz it’s across an ocean but stay with me for a second. There’s a great lesson for MNOs and startup entrepreneurs too.

After the CEO, John Legere, announces radical new mobile products for businesses, someone in the audience asks a question. Legere responds that they are learning from customer feedback and that they’ll change the product to suit what customers want. Then Legere asks the guy, “Are you on T-Mobile?”. He answers no and says he’s on AT&T – for the same reasons everybody is on AT&T, he explains – they started using the network at some point and haven’t left even though service is bad.

Then Legere asks why he hasn’t moved to T-Mobile: “What’s the problem? Tell me what it is that keeps you stuck to them right now?” The guy and everyone around laughs it off, but Legere goes further, and more directly now says “I want your business.”

“I’m trying to learn. I find no reason why we can’t do business. And if we do business and it doesn’t work for you, I’ll move you back. I’ll make it worth your while.” Eventually he asks that the guy see him after the event so he can learn more and get him to try T-Mobile.

He continues selling to more people asking questions and distinctly acknowledges that they are learning but tries to find out why people aren’t on T-Mobile.


T-Mobile USA is a company with more than 50 million subscribers, with revenue of around 7 Billion a quarter. Now, compare this to the larger than life image CEOs around us try to push. Large companies and startup entrepreneurs alike. We’re all on our high horses, arrogantly collecting money from the customers who are keeping our businesses afloat and never a second coming down to ask – have I solved a pain point and if not, why?

Uncarrier events are actually quite a pleasure to watch and I believe every CEO, and especially every telecoms company, can learn a lot from Legere, who’s waging a a one man guerilla war against the established duopoly that is AT&T and Verizon, and winning it. Find them and watch them if only to learn how your mobile provider is emptying your wallet. He has a comment on bundles in this same video:

One of the illnesses in any industry, especially in telecoms, is bundling. Bundling should scare you. When people take disparate things and stick them together and sell them to you in a bundle, something bad is happening


  1. Evans

    Your article end was so abrupt, I scrolled down looking for more!

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      Sorry about that. that’s really all i had to share.
      let’s do some collaborative writing though, maybe you can help with an ending. We’ll add to the article if you’re happy to take this up!

  2. mufukuri

    Great article.

  3. Chihwa

    the article ended too abruptly guys, interesting article though

  4. Ndini Wenyu

    T-Mobile 50m subscribers, but in that Country they are small when compared to their competition. Come back home…. we do not have that demographic. There are certain customer centric activities that companies in Zimbabwe cannot just to because there is no economy to speak about.