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Mobile Communications

T-Mobile CEO sees doubling of U.S. business customers in 2016

T-Mobile CEO John Legere brashly predicted that the number of U.S. businesses switching to the carrier will grow even faster in 2016, doubling the number of small- and mid-sized businesses already in T-Mobile's fold.

In typical bluster, Legere on Wednesday noted in a blog, which included wide-ranging 2016 predictions, that growth with business customers has become "by far the fastest area of growth for us."

The reason?

"American businesses are fed up with backroom deals, overages and overcharging from AT&T and Verizon," he said. "So it should come as no surprise that businesses of all sizes are flocking—and will continue to flock—to the Un-carrier."

Legere didn't say how many small and mid-sized business customers already use T-Mobile for wireless services, but analysts have estimated there are hundreds, if not thousands. Still, the No. 3 carrier has not been considered a major contender for business users of wireless services, even as T-Mobile has worked hard to attract them.

In March, T-Mobile announced new pricing for business customers that it claimed would cost 42% less than AT&T or Verizon.

For all of 2014, Legere said T-Mobile collected $3.8 billion of the $83 billion spent by business customers on wireless services. The bulk of that spending -- $72 billion -- went for services from both AT&T and Verizon; most of the remainder went to Sprint. Figures for 2015 weren't immediately available.

Prior to the March announcement, Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner had said that T-Mobile was a "no-show with business customers and the only direction for T-Mobile in business is up."

Legere's other 2016 predictions were largely boasts about T-Mobile's consumer growth and continued improvements in LTE coverage. He did predict that T-Mobile will "walk away a winner" in the lowband spectrum auctions coming to the Federal Communications Commission in 2016.

He called out Verizon Wireless especially. "Big Red is FINALLY starting to realize they have a real fight on their hands...we are starting to see them sweat!" He slammed Verizon's spending of billions in advertising and said the carrier has a "borderline creepy infatuation with millennials" that is notable in its purchase of AOL and interest in buying Yahoo! "They may establish themselves as the place for old dotcoms—because they really must think they know 'the millennial.' Up next, MySpace, WebVan or Lycos!"

Among his more futuristic predictions, Legere predicted that virtual reality and augmented realty will "hit a tipping point in 2016"; said Periscope and social media will get bigger ; and expects drones will progress from hobby toys to "super, amazingly useful."

Somewhat ominously, Legere also said he plans to get into Twitter battles with more presidential candidates. In November, Legere and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump traded barbs on Twitter, with Trump in one tweet declaring he uses T-Mobile and "it's pathetic, dropped calls, no service."

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