America’s Uncarrier, T-Mobile US, is notable for a number of things. One is how the business has upset the apple cart by deciding to do the cellular business thing their way rather than playing by the established rules of the industry. We’ve seen T-Mobile US upsetting Wall Street by being more focused on customers rather than shareholders. T-Mobile US has spearheaded the introduction of equipment installation plans, whereby a customer is not committed to using their network but instead is buying a device from the carrier over a regular installment plan and is using their network in the meantime. T-Mobile US is also notable for trolling the other carriers, poking fun at their decisions and general stuffiness when dealing with customers. Away from the customer facing side of things, the business is also notable for encouraging the FCC, Federal Communications Commission, to change how the industry is managed when it comes to allocating spectrum across the frequencies. And of course, T-Mobile US’ Chief Executive, John Legere, is notable for his outspoken nature, especially on Twitter.
Today’s story concerns T-Mobile’s trolling of other carriers in in particular, Verizon Wireless. It happens to be Verizon’s quarterly earnings call today (Thursday, 21 January 2016, at 08:30 ET or 05:30 PT). T-Mobile US’ press release explains that whilst they don’t like the traditional earnings call, they are forced to endure listening to Verizon’s call, so in order to make things somewhat more enjoyable have put together a drinking game. Fortunately, the rules do not specify what, exactly, should be consumed whilst listening to the call, but there are three tiers of drinking. The first tier means taking a drink should Verizon mention “millennials,” “young people,” is able to complete a sentence without jargon (something T-Mobile do not believe will happen), or if Verizon reference the year-old networking tests with no shame.
The middle tier involves taking two drinks. Here, we’ll need to listen out for Verizon talking about monetizing something (typically a means of extracting money from customers!), if their media streaming service Go90 is compared with SugarString or RedBox Instant, or if Verizon talks about industry leadership (and T-Mobile US believe Verizon are following in their wake). However, T-Mobile US has upped the stakes for the third tier, where here the rule is that one must finish their drink. T-Mobile US do not believe that any of these three statements will happen, but if they do, the rules are: Verizon admitting to copying Music Freedom, Binge O and / or Mobile Without Borders inside the next year. One should also finish the drink should Verizon admit that it has lost its network advantage (and T-Mobile admit that Verizon offer coverage in some rural areas where T-Mobile US cannot yet compete), and finally, down it should Verizon admit that its “millennial” strategy is a mid life crisis and the carrier “will stop trying to be cool.”
We’ve already seen how T-Mobile US has upset Wall Street and today’s press release isn’t likely to change this, but picking apart things apart, one gauntlet that has been dropped is to encourage Verizon to stop talking jargon in earnings calls. However, this is unlikely, as many companies seem to enjoy making statements that are deliberately convoluted. And ultimately, if one wishes to participate in T-Mobile’s drinking game, one still has to listen to the earnings call!