Ina Fried

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Interview: T-Mobile’s New Chief Says He’s Ready to Fight

T-Mobile USA’s new chief executive said Wednesday that those who are counting his company out will be proven wrong.

“If you thought T-Mobile was going to shrink and wither away, you are completely wrong,” John Legere told AllThingsD on Wednesday.

T-Mobile, of course, faces an uphill battle. The carrier has been bleeding customers since before its failed bid to be acquired by AT&T. It also is the only major carrier without an iPhone to sell, and is behind Sprint, AT&T and Verizon when it comes to offering next-generation LTE service.

In taking on the post, Legere said he sought assurances from T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom that it was willing to invest in the resources the U.S. carrier needed to succeed.

“Are you ready to fight?” Legere said he asked DT CEO Rene Obermann. “What I heard from Rene is ‘yes.'”

Legere said his goal is to build a company that is thought of as the “un-carrier,” and more customer-friendly than its rivals.

He indicated that the company plans to continue with its same strategy, building an LTE network to be ready by the middle of next year, as well as offering unlimited data plans to lure customers.

Legere fills the spot vacated by Philipp Humm who left T-Mobile in June, and took up a post at European rival Vodafone.

Obermann told AllThingsD that he was looking for a different kind of leader for the company, and noted that T-Mobile talked to many people over the months it sought a new chief.

“I was looking to find an entrepreneur and innovator, someone who thinks out of the box,” he said.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald