T-Mobile CEO John Legere recently reignited his year-old campaign to convince AT&T, Sprint and Verizon to do away with overage charges.
He swooped in with a new video, called the practice “ridiculous,” and promised to send an unmistakable message when the petition hit 250,000 signatures. It was the kind of bold, brash consumer-centric do-goodery for which Legere’s become renowned and has resulted in millions of wireless customers churning to T-Mobile.
Except this particular effort on Legere’s part is not getting that sort of reaction. The petition “#AbolishOverages @ATT, @VerizonWireless and @Sprint!” is currently sitting at about 212,779 signatures. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially considering Change.org’s top all-time petitions have all maxed out at 735,984 signatures.
But the problem is, at the current rate Legere’s petition is gaining support, it will be well into June before it hits the 250,000 mark, if it reaches that point at all. By that time, consumers will likely have forgotten about his promise in the first place and Legere will have moved on to prepping for the next Un-Carrier move.
Why aren’t consumers more interested in this petition? Why isn’t it worth more people’s time to sign this thing and see what kind of message T-Mobile sends to the other carriers? Legere already mentioned skywriting and giant greeting cards. Isn’t that worth a few clicks?
“The ultimate notion is quite silly,” said Recon Analytics Roger Entner, likening it to the CEO of AT&T or Verizon Wireless petitioning T-Mobile to reintroduce subsidies because 30 percent of their customers are picking them.
Entner said that the people who are concerned with overage charges have and are going to switch to T-Mobile and that those who have not switched must have other compelling reasons for sticking with the other carriers.
“He’s trying to troll and get a reaction. And not even consumers are reacting,” Entner said, adding that the petition is a “transparently self-serving goal.”
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said the success of the petition isn’t much of an indicator for the current competitive landscape of wireless in the United States.
“Those votes were cast in Q1 when T-Mobile added almost a million subs, while the dominant carriers were contracting,” Piecyk wrote in an email.
It’s highly likely that the whole thing is fairly meaningless. T-Mobile has shown consistent growth in its postpaid subscriber base and that, more than any petition, is what will shock the other carriers into altering their business models.
Still, I can’t help but hope that Legere’s petition hits that 250,000 signature mark so we can see him do something crazy.