Say what you want about T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) CEO John Legere, but never accuse him of throwing a boring press conference.
The CEO is arrogant and brash, and likes to make himself the center of the show. The videocast of the company's latest "Un-carrier" news announcement even began with a video of the executive getting ready. It was suggestive of a pro wrestling entrance video, which is appropriate because Legere has always carried himself a bit like a villainous 1980s WWE manager.
"Legere's whole rap would seem clownish if it wasn't working," said CNBC's Jim Cramer in a clip from his show that was part of the opening.
But, unlike Bobby "The Brain" Heenan or Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, Legere always backs up his boasts. The CEO's underdog challenger has to take on AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) -- the wireless equivalents of Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage -- but Legere regularly pulls off the upset over his larger rivals.
Un-carrier events may be heavy on the bluster, but they always deliver real changes and this time, Un-carrier 9.0, was no different.
A better network is coming
One of Legere's opening gambits was to show how much T-Mobile's network has improved since 2012. He actually showed a coverage map from that time and chided a rival for not quite telling the truth in its ads.
"This is T-Mobile's coverage in 2012, also know as Verizon's commercial last week," he said before showing a map of the company's vastly improved network. "We're only getting started."
Legere said that the company has "270 million POPs of LTE" with plans for 300 million by the end of the year. He also cited the "700 band" and "broadcast options" as other ways the network will improve.
"We are moving to having on every single facet that exists a bigger, broader, faster wider network than AT&T and Verizon," he said. "That's what scares the crap out of them, because the crazy people are now going into their domain."
T-Mobile is going after business customers
"They didn't get the memo saying that we were coming into business," Legere said as he joked about how AT&T and Verizon have cited that area as a strength. The CEO said that 40% of carriers' wireless revenue come from business customers. "S*** starts happening in that area today," he said. "They think that their business is just safe and it's just not."
Legere pledged to do for the business segment what "we did for the consumer segment two years ago." He specifically talked about how haggling and lack of price transparency made arranging business services difficult for small companies because the current system is set up to benefit big business.
T-Mobile, he said, would be going after the 99.7% of businesses in the United States with less than 500 employees.
"The plan for business is so simple, it's so straightforward, it makes the choice easy," he said before laying out the plan:
- The best price is the only price.
- 10 lines are $160 ($16 per line), 100 lines are $1,500 ($15 per line), which is the same price for 1,000 lines or 1 million for that matter.
"This is 42% lower than AT&T or Verizon," he added. "This isn't an access fee, this includes data."
At the prices above, Legere said the phones include 1GB of data. The company also offers added data at $10 for 2GB of extra data per line or a pool of data that the whole company can share. He cited 100GB at $4.71 a gig. Overages cost the same rate and prices go down with bigger pools.
He also said that companies can buy more data for individual lines and a pool to account for heavy users and variances among less-heavy users.
T-Mobile's plan also includes a free business domain and a mobile-optimized website from GoDaddy. "That's a big deal," he said. "Maybe not in megacorp, but at the companies driving this country."
Business savings extend to home
Legere pointed out that most businesses offer "deals" for their employees who use the same carrier at home. The problem, he said, is that those carriers ignore that the person is already a customer.
"When the family comes in, that's the second customer." he said.
So, if a person has a business line with T-Mobile, with his company paying $15 or $16 for that line, instead of the $50 a new, individual customer pays, his family will be treated as an additional line on that plan.
"Your family is the line two and line three. Do the math," he said. "It's a 50% savings. This is $438 a year a family of two saves over AT&T and Verizon."