T-Mobile's Wacky Plan to Trash the Wireless Business Model

How T-Mobile plans to survive by blowing up one of the most profitable business models around
Legere: Brendan McDermid/Reuters; Peeled banana: AntAgain/Getty Images; Arm: Tim MacPherson/Getty Images; Small Bananas: Getty (5)

John Legere smiled, the kind of smile reserved for a man who knows he has already won and is just waiting to announce it. Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile US, the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the country, was giving an interview to Bloomberg TV in July to introduce a program that would allow customers to upgrade their phones twice a year. The smile appeared when he was asked about other carriers, which had complained off the record about the cost of the phones they sold to their own customers. Legere tugged at the neck of his shirt. “You know what?” he said. “It’s the best part of what you just said. I’ll tell you what hurts them, is the fact that they’re telling you off the record that they don’t like this variable about serving their customers, because frankly they don’t have the balls to say it.” By the end of the summer, AT&T and Verizon had followed Legere’s lead with similar upgrade plans of their own.

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