T-Mobile US CEO John Legere wrapped his 2017 CES presentation Thursday with a round of predictions, complete with crystal ball.
His predictions for the year include Google entering the wireless industry to compete with the big four carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint — and Verizon considering a merger with cable giant Comcast.
Here’s what Legere is betting is on the horizon.
1. Big cable companies will briefly participate in the wireless industry
Legere thinks big cable companies like Comcast Cable and Charter Communications will get into the industry through mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals — an MVNO provides to customers the wireless service it buys in bulk from the big four carriers.
Legere promised that if this is the case, T-Mobile won’t participate in any of these deals, and that by CES 2018 Big Cable will have realised its moves were losses and be in “full retreat.”
2. A major tech company, probably Google, will become a competitor
“The future is mobile,” Legere said, explaining that it only makes sense a massive tech company like Facebook, Amazon, or, most likely, Google, will join the fray to take on the big four. “We’ll clean their clocks, too,” Legere added.
3. Mobile will eat TV
“TV isn’t dead,” Legere said. It’s just being streamed across devices. Legere is betting that more than half of all television shows will be viewed on mobile by the end of the year.
4. Dish Network will ‘die’
Legere thinks the satellite service provider missed its window to enter the wireless industry and will cease to be a standalone company. “Dealer, next hand of cards, please,” Legere said. “Thanks for playing, Charlie!”
5. T-Mobile will be the first to offer Gigabit LTE
Legere said he is convinced T-Mobile will beat AT&T and Verizon in offering customers Gigabit LTE service — think of it as a step above current 4G LTE but not quite the next big leap: 5G.
6. Legere’s Facebook Live cooking segment will get 1 million weekly viewers
Legere proclaimed that his “Slow Cooker Sunday” Facebook Live segments, where he prepares a Sunday dinner in his pressure cooker (“Most of them suck!” he said) will take on channels like MTV, Comedy Central, and the Food Network, and go from around 500,000 to 1 million viewers.
To be clear, a view on Facebook counts as three seconds or more, and some T-Mobile sponsored videos surpass 1 million views on Facebook already. Legere acknowledged this one was goofy, but suggested his carrier’s impressive social influence would grow stronger.
7. The CEOs he competes with will be shuffled out
There will be a CEO shuffle, where the CEOs of three of the four major wireless carriers will be replaced, Legere said, suggesting, without explicitly saying, he’s not going to be one of them. “I’ll leave it at that!” Legere said.
8. Comcast and Verizon will consider a merger
Legere has criticised Verizon’s decisions to buy AOL and Yahoo, and thinks that Verizon will consider another choice he sees as disastrous: merging with Comcast. “The future looks a little rough for these two megacorps as their legacy businesses erode,” he said, adding that it would make both of their respective services even worse for their customers. The resulting fused company would be “the ultimate evil corporation of all time.”
In a Q&A following his predictions, Legere told Verge reporter Chris Welch that under the Trump administration and new FCC leadership, a merger with Japanese wireless provider SoftBank through its majority ownership in Sprint may be a possibility once again.
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