Every year, T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere, makes predictions for the upcoming year in wireless. Before we get to his calls for 2017, let’s take a look back at how the executive did with his 2016 predictions. Some of them were pretty easy to figure out. For example, he said that T-Mobile would get rid of more pain points for consumers, which it did by launching T-Mobile One. This is the plan which gives users unlimited data as long as they don’t mind viewing video in DVD resolution (480p). T-Mobile One Plus is a little more each month, but includes streaming video in HD.
Legere predicted that in 2016, T-Mobile would be the big winner of the FCC’s 600MHz spectrum auction. Since some bidders have since dropped out along the way, the clearing cost has not been topped and after three stages there is no winner here yet. Legere did correctly predict that T-Mobile would be the subject of more takeover rumors in 2016. He also predicted that live video streaming would get bigger, which did happen.
So what does T-Mobile’s top executive see in his crystal ball for 2017. He sees cable outfits entering the wireless business through MVNO deals. For example, Comcast is planning on combining Wi-Fi hotspots with Verizon’s network to start an MVNO. How will this strategy fare? As Legere says in his own colorful fashion, “I predict Big Cable will have their asses handed to them and will be in full retreat from their MVNO strategy by end of year.”
Legere also says that in 2017, a major player like Apple, Google, Facebook or Amazon will shake up the industry. His prediction? It will be Google, which already has the Project Fi hybrid service that it runs. Customers use Wi-Fi for voice and data; when out of range of these mobile hotspots, the devices connect to 4G LTE networks run by Sprint and T-Mobile. Legere also says that Dish Network has missed the time window it had to become a wireless carrier. Instead, T-Mobile’s CEO expects Dish to be bought out in 2017.
With T-Mobile achieving gigabit LTE speeds in the lab, using MIMO, QAM and carrier aggregation, Legere calls for T-Mobile customers to be the first to experience gigabit speeds on their LTE devices in 2017.
Now for some blockbuster predictions. Shining up his crystal ball, Legere sees Comcast and Verizon forced to begin discussions about combining both companies. He calls them “two of the most hated brands in America.” He also sees three of the four major wireless carriers in the U.S. replacing their CEO in 2017. Hmm. We wonder which one he thinks is safe.