At a certain point in today's T-Mobile press event in New York City, which officially announced the $99 T-Mobile iPhone 5 and launched their new "Un-leash" campaign, CEO John Legere told the audience, "I hope I'm not coming off angry."
But, truth be told his anger was palpable, but Legere is trying to make a point: He sympathizes with wireless customers across the country who are burdened with binding cell phone contracts that are suffocating and even exploitative, as he put it.
The press event kicked off with a commercial that will spear-headed the upcoming promotional blitz, which shows four outlaws representing all the major mobile carriers in the U.S., going into an old western town filled with fearful citizens.
Then, out of the blue, one of them realizes that he's had enough of such dishonesty and decides to lead a more honest existence (to accentuate the change of heart, he replaces his cowboy hat with a pink one before going off on his own).
Immediately afterwards, Legere asked if we could tell which of the dirty, good-for-nothing scoundrels was print.
Legere said what?!
Legere, who doesn't mince words, addressed his critics and referred to how a major publication noted how he has relatively little experience running a wireless company.
To that, Legere felt it was almost a point of pride: "The worst fear is that someone on the outside of Oz would look at their industry."
Legere went on to explain how "the industry is broken" and we "know the villains… it's an industry that gives no rewards for loyalty," and added that everyone involved needs to "stop the bullshit."
He went on to list very specific examples: First, are rate plans that are made complicated. "They make no sense. Why? It's on purpose." Legere exclaimed. Next are contracts. "That phone that you walked out of the store with, how long is it before it becomes broken?" He asked. "Carriers are only nice to you every 23 months."
The casually dressed CEO - wearing the company's t-shirt in retina-frying magenta under a black blazer - addressed their new LTE network, which he described as "smoking fast," and how it will be just as good, "if not better" than their competitors.
In fact, their LTE networks will move into to seven different markets: Las Vegas, Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City, Houston, Phoenix, and San Jose. New York City will get T-Mobile's LTE by this summer.
No more 'shell games'
Legere reiterated that the average plan for smart phones are "shell games," and the retooled Un-carrier plans are part of T-mobile's new mantra: unlimited everything, with no caps or overcharges. Just simple choices.
Mike Sievert, T-Mobile's chief marketing officer, took to the stage to elaborate upon Legere's points, and he had AT&T directly in his crosshairs.
Sievert first touted how T-Mobile will provide 50 percent more bandwidth than AT&T, and how the cost of a T-Mobile iPhone 5 will save a customer over a $1,000 after two years when compared with AT&T's contract.
But perhaps the most powerful moment came when Sievert addressed AT&T's (clearly there is no love between the two) abundance of plans.
He stopped by one of their stores the other day and brought with him several brochures, each detailing one of their plans. One was for family share, the other was for mobile share and both are designed to be confusing and force you into a plan, according to Sievert.
Legere on naming names
After the presentation TechRadar caught up to Legere and asked him about the bravado that he and his team demonstrated on stage.
"Well, I get very passionate about the subject matter. I believe I speak on the behalf of the millions of frustrated customers out there aching for a change," Legere said.
As for naming names, and the inherent risk of such a bold move. "Was it it risky, naming names? Why is it a risk in the first place? I want to have dialogue, we know who the other players are, we know what we do, and we're facing off against," he added.
And as for what the head of AT&T might be thinking after watching Legere and all that he had to say: "I bet they're in a board roam right now, wondering, how do we shut this guy up" Legere said through a laugh.
"The thing is, we're just 10 percent market share and we're ready to grow. If they want to go head to head and face off, then bring it on."
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