T-Mobile USA will officially start a new chapter as the underdog of mobile when a new CEO, John Legere, takes over later this week.
The fourth-largest U.S. carrier, and the biggest operator without an iPhone, is starting to aggressively court owners of that device while preparing to roll out its own fast 4G LTE network, set to go live next year. On Saturday, Legere will step in as T-Mobile USA's first permanent CEO since June. Deutsche Telekom, the U.S. carrier's German parent, announced the appointment on Wednesday.
Philipp Humm, the longtime T-Mobile executive who took over the U.S. business in November 2010 and saw it accept a US$39 billion merger bid from AT&T that finally collapsed under regulatory pressure, resigned as CEO in June. Analysts said it was likely he was hired to manage a sale or merger and left after the AT&T deal went away. Chief Operating Officer Jim Alling served as interim CEO and will return to his former job after Legere takes over on Saturday.
Legere has a long track record in telecommunications, including 15 years at AT&T, and has also held high-level positions at Dell. He also was CEO of Global Crossing, an international provider of Internet Protocol communications services.
T-Mobile will have its work cut out for it as one of the last U.S. carriers to deploy LTE. It lost about 205,000 subscribers in the second quarter ended June 30, hitting 33.1 million customers. That compares with more than 56 million at third-place Sprint Nextel, not to mention 94 million at Verizon Wireless and 105 million at AT&T.