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T-Mobile's Gatecrashing CEO May Be A Marketing Genius

Jan 7 2014, 3:46pm CST | by

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T-Mobile's Gatecrashing CEO May Be A Marketing Genius
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T-Mobile's Gatecrashing CEO May Be A Marketing Genius

Eccentric CEOs are a rare breed even in the cutting-edge world of technology, but T-Mobile boss John Legere is one of them, and that may prove an advantage for a company eager to lure customers from AT&T and Verizon.

Legere gained instant notoriety at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last night for behaving outside the show’s carefully orchestrated norms: wearing a leather jacket and trademark pink T-Mobile shirt, he gatecrashed AT&T’s developer party and was subsequently escorted out by security guards when a tech reporter tweeted a photograph of the executive at the event.

Legere has since taken to Twitter to showcase all the support he’s received as the scrappy underdog maligned by larger competition.

Here’s just a sample of the dozens of messages the CEO has re-tweeted from some of his more than 55,000 followers:

Legere later said in an interview  with tech news site Re/Code that he simply wanted to see the party’s headline act, rapper Macklemore; he’d reportedly got passes to the party through Macklemore’s agent.

What’s more likely is that Legere, who was also with his CFO Braxton Carter at the party, was looking for another chance to show up AT&T. T-Mobile is scheduled to make a big CES announcement tomorrow about the next stage in its Un-Carrier project, and the hype surrounding Legere’s ballsy move is fortuitously timed. T-Mobile is now one of the most talked about subjects at the show after Michael Bay’s Samsung slip-up yesterday.

Legere has become increasingly caustic in his criticisms of AT&T, with whom T-Mobile shares similar network technology to make it easier for customers to keep their phones if they switch carriers. When AT&T announced it was offering $450 in credit to T-Mobile customer who switched to its network, he took to Twitter to call out AT&T’s chief, Randall Stephenson:

Legere was appointed T-Mobile CEO in September 2012 and  used a public appearance at CES 2013  to call AT&T’s network “crap,” while dropping a number of F-bombs.

In the meantime he’s positioned T-Mobile as the “un-carrier” among America’s three other big networks, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, offering cheaper plans, less stringent contracts and international roaming.

It all seems to be working: T-Mobile announced  an influx of 1 million new customers in a better-than-expected third quarter of 2013.

And if reports are correct that Japan’s Softbank is now in talks to acquire T-Mobile US Inc in an estimated $20 million deal, that new growth in customers will be all the more important, no matter how outspoken Legere has had to be to get them.

Source: Forbes

 

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