T-Mobile CEO given the boot at AT&T party

01/07/2014 8:55 AM

01/07/2014 1:18 PM

T-Mobile US Inc. Chief Executive Officer John Legere was kicked out of a trade-show party hosted by AT&T Inc., adding fuel to a commercial rivalry that is getting personal.

Legere, who is positioning his company as the “un- carrier” upending the mobile-phone industry, showed up at the AT&T-sponsored event in Las Vegas last night for attendees of the International Consumer Electronics Show. Shortly after appearing in a Twitter photo posted by CNET reporter Roger Cheng, Legere was shown the door.

“Some security guards escorted him out. It was crazy,” Cheng wrote in a Twitter message. Legere later told technology news site Re/code he had gone to the party to see rapper Macklemore perform.

Since taking over as CEO in 2012, Legere has been undercutting larger competitors with cheaper plans, quicker upgrade privileges and free international roaming. Along the way, he has needled AT&T, the second-biggest U.S. mobile-phone company, calling his network “crap” at last year’s CES.

T-Mobile Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter joined Legere at the AT&T event, Cheng reported. Legere missed his chance to see Macklemore, who performed after the CEO was booted, Cheng said.

Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman, and Janice Kapner, a T- Mobile spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the incident.

The competition has intensified between T-Mobile and AT&T in part because they use a similar network technology that makes it easier for customers to keep their phones when they change providers. AT&T, led by CEO Randall Stephenson, announced last week it would give T-Mobile customers as much as $450 in credits to switch over.

“Memory problems, eh Randall?” Legere said this week on Twitter. “Remember in September you said T-Mobile hadn’t impacted your business. Yeah, that’s why you’re bribing customers!”

AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, have mimicked some of T-Mobile’s service plans. And Dallas-based AT&T has started a marketing push touting the supremacy and speed of its network.

T-Mobile, based in Bellevue, Washington, is the nation’s fourth-biggest mobile-phone company, also trailing Overland Park-based Sprint Corp.

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