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T-Mobile CEO’s 2019 predictions are mostly a bunch of digs at the competition

Published Dec 27th, 2018 7:06PM EST

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At this point, taking digs at the competition is practically baked into T-Mobile’s identity as a company — even down to the way it refers to itself as the Un-carrier. So it should probably come as no surprise that when the company’s idiosyncratic CEO John Legere unveils his predictions for 2019, as he’s done today, they’re dominated in large measure by the shots they take at rivals like Verizon and AT&T.

As part of his top 10 predictions for the year ahead (which he shares here), Legere arguably serves up his most biting indictment when blasting the cable TV industry — an industry that T-Mobile hopes to disrupt with its cable TV offering it had hinted was coming this year, but which now most certainly appears set for a 2019 launch.

It stems from T-Mobile’s acquisition of Layer3 TV for $325 million in 2017, a buy that the Un-carrier said would help it become a cable player. And along those lines, Legere promises in his blog post that “In 2019, we’ll take our first steps to take on another stupid, broken, arrogant industry — maybe the stupidest, brokenest, arrogantest industry of all: Cable and satellite TV.”

He didn’t include any details about the service or specifics around timing, but he crowed that the cable TV industry is poised for another record bad year. One that he hopes his company’s new service can help exacerbate.

“The Cableopoly doesn’t know how to treat customers or how to compete,” Legere writes. “And when they face competition, things will go to hell. That’s what will start to happen to Big Cable in 2019. You thought the Q3 TV subscriber loss was massive? Just wait. Once consumers have real choices — for both TV and home broadband, we’ll start to see cable businesses *really* erode.”

Legere thinks Verizon will sell its troubled Oath subsidiary that includes digital assets like AOL and Yahoo. He also says carriers like Verizon and AT&T will offer 5G service — just with tons of exceptions and gaps in coverage.

It’s a typically feisty take on the industry from T-Mobile’s typically feisty chief executive, one who has a colorful Twitter presence and who also said today he’s “optimistic” that the approval of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger will pass regulatory muster next year.

Legere doesn’t have a perfect record, as far as his predictions go. But then again, who would, right? In the past, for example, he’s forecast the collapse of Dish Network, which of course didn’t come to pass. But he also correctly called the failure of Verizon’s video service Go90, so there’s that.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.