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T-Mobile CEO says cable companies may one day merge with carriers

T-Mobile Q1 2015 Earnings Call: Behind-the-Scenes Livestream
T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere is never one to shy away from the spotlight. His comments on T-Mobile’s competitors are heard loud and clear, and his ideas surrounding the future of cellular providers are aggressive and determined. During T-Mobile’s earnings call, Legere hinted that cable companies may one day merge with carriers, so as to provide phone service along with Internet and cable.

Legere ratcheted up his rhetoric in T-Mobile’s earnings call. “In five years, we will think it comical that we thought about the industry structure as the four major wireless carriers,” he said. While this was not the first time Legere voiced this particular train of thought, it was the first time he expanded on it with a statement of any significance, adding, “I’ve always said it’s not a matter of if; it’s when and how. And now I’m going to add and who.”

Legere continued going into specifics that hinted at a future collaboration with a cable company.

“As content and entertainment and social are moving to the Internet, and the Internet is moving mobile, these industries, the adjacent industries, are in the same game that we’re in,” Legere said. “So whether it’s what you see Google doing, what you see the social media companies doing, or as you start to see cable players trying to move content — Wi-Fi integration with mobile networks, etc. — these are individual customers that are looking at both offer sets. I think you need to think about the cable industry and players like us as not competitors, but potential partners and alternatives for each other in the future.”

Cable companies like DISH could be looking to integrate cellular services into their wheelhouse soon enough, and Legere seems to be saying that this sort of consolidation could some day be expected. He stopped short of saying that such a merger will happen in the immediate future.

T-Mobile has entertained merger bids in the past, including the most recent failed one with Sprint, and another from 2011 with AT&T. However, Legere has also shot down earlier claims that T-Mobile must merge with another company to survive, so it seems unlikely that a big merger is in the Uncarrier’s future, at least for the time being.

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