John Legere seems to operate under the philosophy of, "If you're going to be late to the party, throw a better one." On Tuesday, Legere announced T-Mobile's intention to build the nation's first true 5G network, following AT&T's rollout of its "5G Evolution" network. A network which many said was, to put it in polite words, nonsense.
In his announcement, the T-Mobile CEO chided AT&T for its "new" network, poking fun at its limited and untimely releases. But mostly Legere pointed out what many in the industry had said: AT&T's "5G Evolution" is not really 5G. Legere states that what really powers "5G Evolution" is LTE technologies, technologies that T-Mobile released themselves last year. As if AT&T hadn't already taken enough of a beating from the news last week, Legere made sure to get his own punches in.
Legere also took the time to go after Verizon, happily sharing that their network speeds have fallen by 14% since "copying" T-Mobile's Unlimited LTE plan. AT&T didn't escape unscathed on that front either — according to Legere, their speeds have also dropped 4%.
T-Mobile's announcement isn't baseless, or speculative. They have the tech to back up their claims. The company recently outspent all others at an auction for high-performing 600 MHz spectrum airwaves. Part of this spectrum is what will power T-Mobile's 5G network, the other going towards enhancing and spreading T-Mobile's current 4G LTE network. Legere claims eventually 5G will work across all of T-Mobile's spectrum bands, so regardless of spectrum speeds, every 5G smartphone will be able to connect to the 5G network anywhere that it's supported in the country.
Although Legere talks up the announcement, he acknowledges T-Mobile won't be releasing the network anytime soon.
Now, unlike the other guys, I'm not claiming that this is right around the corner this year or next. 5G standards are still being defined, and there's a lot of work to do. But it will be here in the next 2-3 years, and it will be incredible, and T-Mobile will be at the forefront of unlocking the 5G future for everyone.
On the one hand, Legere and T-Mobile could take criticism for smacking down their competition for their technologies, when T-Mobile is only talking about 5G, and not actually demonstrating it.
However, there's something to be said for what T-Mobile is doing here. They aren't hastily rushing a flawed product to market for the sake of it. T-Mobile is taking their time on their 5G technology — and until more information surfaces, this is probably the best way for the company to generate buzz.
Legere isn't like most CEOs. He doesn't play nice, and he doesn't want to be diplomatic. Legere calls it like he sees it, and from his perspective, T-Mobile is where consumers will turn to. He claims the duopoly (AT&T and Verizon) are getting scared, and he's got a point. T-Mobile, while in third place, is the company making big purchases, innovating, and making snarky video announcements; the duopoly may have the numbers at the moment, but T-Mobile, like 5G, is catching up lightning fast.