Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
T-Mobile, Shaw Communications Inc.
Sievert joined T-Mobile in 2012 as chief marketing officer and became COO in 2015. In 2018, he joined the board of directors and was appointed president of the company. Prior to being CMO at T-Mobile, he joined Clearwire Corp., now part of T-Mobile, in 2009, serving as EVP and chief commercial officer.
Sievert also serves on the board of directors for Shaw Communications in Canada. Originally from Canton, Ohio, he began his career in marketing. After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he went to Procter & Gamble Co. as a brand developer, then took executive roles at E*Trade Financial Corp., AT&T and Microsoft Corp.
He has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the past two decades with his family and is an avid aviator and mariner, as well as an enthusiastic supporter of conservation and the environment. He discussed the future of 5G with i3 including plans for CES 2022.
A: 5G will likely connect almost everything. Cities, farms, factories, machinery, even clothing — all connected to the network, and with the potential to enable smart infrastructure that can connect up to 100 times more devices, reduce network energy usage, support a step-change in battery life for low power devices and deliver real-time analytics across massive amounts of data.
T-Mobile is starting to test all of these possibilities today through our leadership in programs like T-Mobile Accelerator, as a founding member of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, and the Smart Communities and Smart Cities initiative with our Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, GA. This is a proving ground for the nation’s first 5G-powered smart city where companies can develop and test emerging technologies and the benefits it can bring to daily life.
It’s also exciting to think about how 5G technology can address important global issues such as climate change and sustainability. Farmers around the world understand this and they are embracing wireless technology to help produce more food using less water, less fertilizer and less pesticide. T-Mobile’s network plays a huge role for rural farmers across America, who need reliable access and tools to transform their businesses. It’s good business and good for the environment.
Q How has the merger with Sprint helped differentiate T-Mobile?
A: The merger is allowing us to become the first company in the history of our industry to simultaneously offer consumers the best value and the best network. The Un-carrier solves pain points, and this is the biggest one of all. Why should you be forced to choose between the best network and the best deal? Now you won’t. That’s huge. The scale of the merger also gave T-Mobile even more fuel to take the Un-carrier spirit to new heights to continue challenging the status quo and fighting harder than ever to eliminate customer pain points and change wireless and beyond for good.
We’re focusing on our customers and building the most expansive and transformative 5G network this country will ever see.And it’s happening incredibly quickly. Our 5G network already covers 1.7 million square miles and reaches 308 million people nationwide and over 200 million people with our Ultra Capacity 5G, with average download speeds many times faster than LTE services. When we announced this merger, we said we’d build 5G for all and we meant it. Out of the 1.7 million square miles, our 5G network covers, 1.45 million of them — 85% — are in rural and small-town America.
And now, as we near the two-year anniversary of our combined teams, we’re just starting to pick up steam. We said all along that being bigger means we can be bolder and we’re all in on following through on that commitment.
The merger is allowing us to become the first company in the history of our industry to simultaneously offer consumers the best value and the best network.
Q: Do you still follow what you called the Un-carrier approach? What’s to come?
A: The Un-carrier approach is who we are to the core. That has most definitely not changed, and we’re now focused on taking the Un-carrier to the next level. Being the Un-carrier means we will always put customers first and will continue to focus on solving their pain points, treating them right and changing the rules of the industry in their favor. The Un-carrier spirit is really expanding. It’s not just about individual pain points. As I mentioned, one of the biggest problems in this entire industry is that customers have always had to choose between great value, and the best network. That pain point is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Our 5G network coverage is already nearly 2x bigger than AT&T, and nearly 4x more than Verizon. It’s not even close. And it’s not just the largest 5G network, we’ve proven time and again that it’s also the fastest and most reliable. And yet, we continue to also be the value leader. This is just amazing. And there are so many more important pain points to address. Personally, I think we can make this industry simpler, and more customer-friendly, in so many ways. The bottom line is that we want to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world and we won’t stop until we’ve done just that. The Un-carrier spirit is what makes up our company’s DNA and fuels every move we make today — and it will continue to fuel every move we make into the future. We’re just getting started.
Q: How will 5G transform society? Telemedicine? Other?
A: Just like with 4G, 5G will create massive economic growth, including millions of new jobs, while unleashing investments and innovations we can’t even imagine today. The 4G era brought us location-based apps like Uber, Waze and DoorDash that fundamentally changed the way we travel, order, receive goods and services, and experience the world around us based on where we are. The 5G era will absolutely enable new experiences for consumers and industries like telehealth and telepresence but that’s just the beginning. 5G will help us actually eliminate the digital divide, it will connect all of us to each other — in ways we can’t yet imagine. It will be transformative — and to ensure that is true, the wireless providers have an important role to play. We need to build the assets; we need to arm the innovators to use the network and we need to make it ridiculously simple for consumers. T-Mobile is going to do exactly that.
Q: How does 5G help to connect vehicles and improve safety?
A: This is an interesting usage scenario around 5G that has a lot of people talking. While it is just one opportunity, it is an important one. In most countries, human error is the primary cause of car accidents. This is a global health crisis. 5G network technology offers massive and potentially life-saving benefits in IoT scenarios. When it comes to vehicles and specifically autonomous 5G-connected cars, ultra-low latency, increased data transmission rates, and overall network speed and coverage will offer real-time data transmission that allows manufacturers and providers to view and communicate with these vehicles in real time with greater efficacy. This could have tremendous impacts on performance and safety. It’s exciting to think of the potential for this technology to ultimately save millions of lives. Fueling this kind of innovation is part of why we’ve built the largest, fastest, and (according to independent third-party umlaut) most reliable nationwide 5G network in the country.
Q: Did network utilization grow as people worked from home during the pandemic?
A: Absolutely. During the pandemic, we all saw just how important connectivity became as people across the country relied on our network to work, learn, visit with their doctor, finish schoolwork and so much more. Even as traffic increased, T-Mobile’s network performed incredibly well thanks to the amazing capacity we’re building and delivering to customers in the 5G era. While network traffic was up across the board, we saw especially sharp spikes in use cases like video conferencing and gaming. For example, during the height of the pandemic, traffic on Zoom shot up 186% as virtual meetings became the norm, while usage for gaming and entertainment went up 166% and mobile hotspot data usage rose 60% as our customers increasingly used their phones as hot spots to connect other devices.
Q: Have other lessons been learned during the pandemic?
A: I’m a firm believer that empowering great people is the way to win and Team Magenta has achieved fantastic results — overcoming several expected and unexpected hurdles to ensure our customers were supported and our business stayed healthy. The ingenuity of our team to complete the largest wireless merger in U.S. history amid an unprecedented global pandemic while continuing to serve customers at a very high level has been so inspiring! If anything, I’ve learned that we can adapt and deliver quickly, despite all odds and we did it with pride and a unique love of customers that sets T-Mobile apart.
The ingenuity of our team to complete the largest wireless merger in U.S. history amid an unprecedented global pandemic while continuing to serve customers at a very high level has been so inspiring!
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