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T-Mobile CEO Predicts Industry Changing of the Guard

T-Mobile’s John Legere has fired up his crystal ball once again and it’s foreshadowing a turbulent year for telecom company CEOs.

Legere ended his presentation to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week with eight predictions for 2017. Among them was that three CEOs from America’s four largest telecom companies would be replaced.

Other than T-Mobile, these include AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Legere wouldn’t specify which leader would survive, exclaiming “I’ll leave it there,” according to reports.

Of course, none of the aforementioned companies would agree with Legere, who is known for taunting competitors on Twitter. But there’s little doubt that 2017 will be a challenging year for the industry, and, as other reports have noted, many of Legere’s predictions in previous years have come true.

AT&T, which is headed by Chief Executive’s 2016 CEO of the Year, Randall Stephenson, is poised to find out if regulators will approve its proposed $85 billion bid for Time Warner.

“There’s little doubt that 2017 will be a challenging year for the industry, and, as other reports have noted, many of Legere’s predictions in previous years have come true.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, meanwhile, is in the midst of a $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo.

Both deals could fall over: Donald Trump has indicated he may oppose AT&T/Time Warner, while Verizon is grappling with a massive email hacking scandal at Yahoo that could prompt it to lower its offer.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure isn’t preoccupied with any live deals, though he did say in 2015 that the company would be stronger if it tied up with a cable company. T-Mobile itself is widely rumored as a possible merger partner for Sprint and Legere isn’t ruling anything out.

“In the future structure of the industry, there are a number of people who think it may make sense from a scale standpoint to consider the coming together of T-Mobile and Sprint,” Legere said when pressed by journalists.

Among his other predictions, Legere expects Commcast and Verizon to enter merger discussions and for Google to enter the the wireless market.

He also expects his “Slow Cooker Sunday” Facebook Live segments, which show him preparing Sunday dinner, to surpass 1 million viewers, gaining him a bigger audience than cable TV channels such as MTV and Comedy Central.

About Ross Kelly

Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.