The Washington Post

How karaoke explains the wireless industry, in 1 telling quote

T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere at a company event in New York last July. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters file photo)

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has a reputation for ruffling feathers with his aggressive style and provocative language. But at his company's news conference Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show, Legere ribbed his opponents in a way that reveals a lot about his position in the industry.

"Have you guys ever done karaoke?" Legere asked the audience. "The rule in karaoke is that when someone sucks — go next."

Call it expert trolling, but it's easy to see why Legere thinks bad, competitive singing is the appropriate analogy here. Americans hate pretty much everything about the wireless industry — from being tied into a contract to facing stiff penalties and charges for going out of bounds.

In the wake of its failed merger with AT&T, T-Mobile's new strategy is different from the game the big incumbents have been playing to date, according to Legere. And that means virtually anything T-Mobile does is going to make it look good while making the other carriers look bad.

Whether this is an accurate characterization of the industry is up for debate. But at the very least, it sums up Legere's logic pretty succinctly.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Brian Fung · January 8, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.