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T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert. Photo / T-Mobile

The sign hanging in T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert's office tells you much about his philosophy and that of T-Mobile USA:

Orville Wright did not have a pilot's license.

Its moves: In the past five years, T-Mobile has helped change much about the U.S. mobile industry, from ending two-year contracts and spurring a return to unlimited data, to free streaming of music and video. It's also helped move T-Mobile from a distant No. 4 to a feisty No. 3 that is consistently stealing customers from larger rivals AT&T and Verizon.

"Our strategy is working," Sievert said in an interview at the company's headquarters in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. "AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are all in service revenue decline and have been for a while we're growing significantly."

The chat came just after T-Mobile made its latest "uncarrier" move: offering free Netflix to customers with two or more lines. Sievert talked to Login about what promoted that move, as well as a broader range of subjects. Here were three things that stood out:

The Netflix promo was designed to come right before the iPhone

"Did you notice the timing," Sievert said, adding that any time there is an iconic phone launch, like the new iPhone, it is a chance for people to re-evaluate not just their phone, but also their wireless provider.

"They are great switching opportunities...We have seen in the past real share-taking opportunity during big iconic phone launches," Sievert said, just as CEO John Legere rolled into his office on a Segway scooter.

T-Mobile's goal is to expand coverage to more places and market segments

Sievert said the effort is basically about going from 2/3 to 3/3 of the market. Historically there were regions of the country and segments of the business that T-Mobile didn't really play in.

That, he said, is rapidly changing, noting the company is adding 3,000 stores this year and taking the company into new cities. It's also going after businesses and prime suburban families — hence the Netflix move.

Despite its apparent focus on smartphones, T-Mobile plans to go after connected devices

"That perception we are creating is deliberate," Sievert said. "Everything else in wireless today is dwarfed by smartphones. In order to position yourself for the future, first you win in smartphones."

But, he said, the company is quietly preparing its network to better handle a range of connected devices for both consumers and businesses. Expect more products and services under the SyncUp brand, which T-Mobile currently uses for its connected car product (one that Sievert notes now has hundreds of thousands of customers.)

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
43 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

48 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
59 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.