T-Mobile CEO teases Uncarrier 5.0, says 'we are by far not done'

John Legere unveils $40 "Simple Starter" plan and will make two more announcements this week. But he also lets on that a bigger, "Uncarrier 5.0" event is in the works for this year too.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read

T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere Lori Grunin/CNET

After a quiet few months, T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere is looking to stir up some trouble again.

"Just when you thought it was safe to return, T-Mobile is back," Legere said in an interview with CNET on Wednesday.

To kick things off, T-Mobile "="" plan"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="370766a7-adf0-47cc-9a40-634c796b7560" slug="t-mobile-targets-budget-conscious-with-40-simple-starter-plan" link-text="launched its " section="news" title="T-Mobile targets budget-conscious with $40 'Simple Starter' plan" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"370766a7-adf0-47cc-9a40-634c796b7560","slug":"t-mobile-targets-budget-conscious-with-40-simple-starter-plan","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"mobile"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Tech^Mobile","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> , a $40 option for customers who don't necessarily use a lot of data on their phones (it's capped at 500 megabytes). But that's just the beginning. Legere said he plans to make two more announcements -- one on Thursday and a third on Friday. He wouldn't provide any details, saying only that they would be "equal or greater" to the Simple Starter plan.

Legere also teased that T-Mobile would be holding "at least" one more Uncarrier event this year -- Uncarrier 5.0 -- suggesting a much larger promotion or program in the works.

Over the past year, T-Mobile has put the rest of the wireless industry on notice with a series of loud, flashy moves, from eliminating contracts to giving customers free international data. It's part of the brash Legere's strategy to grab the spotlight for the smallest of the nationwide carriers, and it's resulted in a resurgence of subscriber growth.

Since the Consumer Electronics Show, when T-Mobile said it would start paying the early termination fees for customers willing to switch, the company has been relatively quiet.

"I've actually been attempting to keep a low profile," Legere said. "If you're playing cards and you're holding a royal flush, you shut up."

Legere was dismissive of the impact from the moves made by AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to draw in new customers, and hinted at a strong first quarter in terms of subscriber growth, as well as a low customer turnover rate.

Verizon has "="" campaign"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="ceb78388-a5c9-11e3-a24e-d4ae52e62bcc" slug="verizon-confirms-more-everything-brings-price-cuts-more-data-global-texting" link-text="recently pushed its " section="news" title="Verizon confirms 'More Everything,' brings price cuts, more data, global texting" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"ceb78388-a5c9-11e3-a24e-d4ae52e62bcc","slug":"verizon-confirms-more-everything-brings-price-cuts-more-data-global-texting","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"mobile"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Mobile","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> , which includes a lower end plan that costs $45 a month. AT&T also revamped its family plans to offer more savings under its Mobile Share program. Sprint also expanded its Framily plan to include a switching bonus similar to T-Mobile's ETF program.

It looks like T-Mobile is getting back into the mix.

"Today's the start of our restating our aggressiveness," Legere said. "It's in effect a reminder of why we started and why it's never going to stop."

AT&T and Verizon Wireless weren't immediately available to comment on the Simple Starter plan.

T-Mobile shares rose 25 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $31.43.