When US competition regulators turned down the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, many thought that would be the end of T-Mobile. Instead, it was the end of business as usual.
T-Mobile branded and marketed all this as the “Un-carrier,” rolling out new versions of its plans — already five and counting — even as competitors have struggled to match the previous one. “Surprise is an effective competitive tactic,” Mr. Legere said. “When you catch the competition by surprise, keep punching and don’t let them up. When you have momentum, keep building it by delivering unexpected offers in rapid succession. Our team is loving it. They are breaking the boundaries and getting to use all their creativity. That’s pretty cool.”
Another group that’s loving it is antitrust regulators. T-Mobile’s success has enabled the Justice Department’s antitrust division to take a rare victory lap, since the company’s consumer-friendly moves are exactly what regulators were hoping for when they sued to block the merger with AT&T. “This really demonstrates that competition can work,” said William J. Baer, the current head of the antitrust division. “When you have feisty rivals whose survival depends on innovating and differentiating, they can gain market share and loosen the oligopoly. That’s exactly what T-Mobile has done.”