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Why T-Mobile users are happier with the Sprint deal

February 13, 2020, 11:00 AM UTC

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Good morning.

A district judge Tuesday approved the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, which means just three companies will control 90% of the North American mobile phone market. How do mobile phone users feel about it? Fortune Analytics did the research, and found them split: 45% say they are concerned about consolidation, but 35% say they aren’t. Among T-Mobile’s current customers, 34% think the merger is mostly positive for them and only 14% think it is mostly negative. Sprint customers are less convinced: 21% think its mostly positive, while 19% think it is mostly negative.

I suspect one reason T-Mobile users are happier with the deal is because the CEO of their company—John Legere—is such a phenomenal showman and salesman. Fortune’s Aaron Pressman claims Legere “will go down in the annals of corporate history as one of the greatest turnaround stories of all time, rivaling Lou Gerstner at IBM or Steve Jobs at Apple.” He will certainly go down as one of the most colorful CEOs of our times—long hair, magenta shirts, F-bombs, Twitter wars and free pizzas all considered. You can read Pressman’s take here.

By the way, Legere’s users have the highest level of satisfaction among the four carriers; Sprint’s have the lowest. Read the full Fortune Analytics report here.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Coronavirus jump

Remember yesterday when China suggested the coronavirus outbreak may have peaked, but experts urged caution? Well, today Hubei province—the Covid-19 epicenter—revised its calculations and reported a massive 15,000 new cases, bringing the total up to around 60,000. The markets are, accordingly, down. Bloomberg

MWC cancellation

Mobile World Congress, one of the tech world's biggest events, has been cancelled this year because of Covid-19. The decision came after coronavirus fears led major exhibitors to pull out of the telecoms show. MWC's organizer, the GSMA industry body, desperately tried to stave off the inevitable by telling attendees they had to self-certify that they hadn't been in contact with anyone infected, but to no avail; the big names kept cancelling their attendance. TechCrunch

Date protection

Ireland's privacy regulator Helen Dixon (our profile here) has forced Facebook to postpone the European launch of its dating service, which was supposed to take place today, the eve of Valentine's Day. Seems Facebook didn't tell her office about the launch until 10 days ago, and provided no data protection impact assessment—she sent staffers to Facebook's office to collect documentation, which her office is now reviewing.

Jeffrey Epstein

The CEO of banking giant Barclays is under investigation over his links to Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased financier and sex offender. Jes Staley reportedly benefited from the funneling of wealthy clients by Epstein, but Barclays maintains that they only had a professional relationship, and had no contact since Staley joined the bank five years ago. The probe is being conducted by the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority. Fortune


Airbnb safety

Airbnb's new safety measures could provide extra pressure to a bottom line that's already in trouble, writes Fortune's Aric Jenkins in the wake of the firm's $322 million net loss for the first three quarters of 2019. As he notes: "These losses don't reflect new spending that Airbnb committed to late last year, to improve safety across its sprawling network of vacation rental homes." Fortune

Ivy League

The Education Department is investigating Harvard and Yale over the possibility that they received undisclosed funding from foreign countries such as Saudi Arabia and China, in the form of gifts and contracts. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos: "If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom." Wall Street Journal

Benioff's trees

The New York Times has a big piece about how Marc Benioff bent President Trump's ear on the planting of trees to offset carbon emissions (though the initiative won't bear fruit, so to speak, anywhere in the near term). As the piece says: "A personal appeal from a celebrity voice got the idea past traditional gatekeepers." NYT

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam may be stepping down over the bank's surveillance of former executives—episodes he says he knew nothing about—but after reporting its highest annual profits since 2010, he claims his turnaround strategy worked. Thiam: "Our performance in 2019, the first full year post restructuring, illustrates how much the bank has changed since 2015." Financial Times

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.