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T-Mobile’s CEO Bashed AT&T at CES … But Seemed to Forget T-Mobile Needed AT&T During Sandy

by Todd Haselton | January 17, 2013January 17, 2013 12:00 pm PDT

I’m still catching up on everything that happened during CES. The 4K TVs are just now sinking into my brain and I’m still trying to count all of the seemingly no-name tablets that were announced. But one thing keeps sticking out and bothering me: T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere and his comments against AT&T.

Let me back track: Legere is a hilarious guy. He is, hands down, the funniest speaker I’ve ever seen in a press conference. He tossed a few jabs at AT&T, Sprint and Verizon with the delivery of a seasoned comedian. During his speech he said AT&T’s NYC network is “crap.” Fact is, there are only a few areas in NYC where AT&T’s network still fails. One area in particular is right off of the FDR around 23rd street. The signal drops there, for whatever reason.

Here’s an inside scoop, though: when T-Mobile gives us review devices, it often provides a list of “recommended areas” to test in. Those are the areas with HSPA+ coverage and the best speeds. It’s no secret, I’ve even mentioned this in my reviews and that I typically avoid those areas so that you can see real world tests, not tests performed in optimal environments. Whatever, that’s fine, I get it. There’s a deeper story here, though.

Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on mobile networks on the east coast last fall. AT&T’s network, in my experience, was perfectly fine. My cable Internet was down, but my wireless connection kept me in touch with the rest of the world. If AT&T’s network is so “crappy” in NYC, why did T-Mobile choose to enter a roaming agreement to make sure its customers retained coverage? If T-Mobile’s network was so strong, it wouldn’t have needed to partner with AT&T, right? Maybe AT&T needed help, too, but the fact is the two worked together and AT&T isn’t going around calling T-Mobile a crappy carrier.

Again, Legere is a funny guy and I’m excited to see T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network roll out this year. I’m just calling it like I see it. You can’t partner with a carrier to make sure you’re offering your customers coverage that wouldn’t otherwise be available, and then backtrack a few months later and call that same partner’s network “crappy.”

It just seems… bizarre.

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...