T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere hinted at a new prepaid offering from the company, called Apollo 15, that will target Leap Wireless' (NASDAQ:LEAP) Cricket-branded prepaid customer base. In addition, he said he is 'intrigued' by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen's vision of combining the company with a wireless carrier, but added that the two companies aren't talking.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Legere said that the company isn't looking to buy Leap but will instead go after the company's customers with a new prepaid offering. "The best way to think about Apollo 15 is T-Mobile network, T-Mobile devices, Leap customers," Legere said, according to the WSJ.
Leap has long been considered an acquisition target and company executives have said they are evaluating their options. Leap and MetroPCS one were considered likely partners because of their similar focus on no-contract customers. Although the companies reportedly did talk about a possible merger back in 2010, they never reached a deal and MetroPCS was acquired by T-Mobile earlier this year.
Nevertheless, Leap executives do not seem concerned about growing competition in the prepaid space. In the past, when asked about T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) plans to significantly expand the footprint where its MetroPCS brand offers service by around 100 million POPs, Leap CEO Doug Hutcheson said Leap is not that worried. He said Leap has experienced such expansions before and has fared well historically. "We don't lack competition in the prepaid segment," he said, noting that Leap is focused on capturing a larger slice of what it expects will be an expanding pie of prepaid customers.
Leap believes 50 million U.S. subscribers will consider switching this year from postpaid to prepaid plans, two-third of which will be from AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
Regarding Dish Network, Legere said that he is intrigued by Ergen's vision of integrating his satellite network with a wireless play but said the two companies have not talked. T-Mobile has been widely rumored as a potential target for Dish, which owns lots of spectrum but lacks a wireless network.
Report: T-Mobile or Dish increasingly likely to swallow Leap Wireless
Leap suggests its LTE roaming deal is with Sprint, hints at more device financing options
If he can't buy Sprint, what is Ergen's plan B? (And C and D?)
Report: U.S. LTE subscribers will make up 70% of connections by 2017