T-Mobile CEO Humm resigns

T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm is resigning from the company and from parent firm Deutsche Telekom. T-Mobile COO Jim Alling will replace Humm on an interim basis while the company searches for a permanent replacement.


Humm will join Deutsche Telekom rival Vodafone starting in October as chief executive of northern and central Europe, Vodafoen confirmed Thursday. On Wednesday, DT had said in a statement that Humm is going to pursue a career outside of Deutsche Telekom and will return to his family which stayed in Europe while he took the top job in Bellevue, Wash. Humm moved to T-Mobile USA in May 2010 and was named CEO in November of that year.

Humm joined Deutsche Telekom in 2005, and was initially responsible for the company's mobile business in Germany. In 2008 he started managing the sales and service activities of the European mobile companies within Deutsche Telekom.

DT CEO Rene Obermann praised Humm and said he "has given the company some important initiatives over the past years: Under his leadership the cost situation at T-Mobile USA has vastly improved and he led the company during a difficult phase regarding the planned merger with AT&T (NYSE:T)."

Indeed, Humm may be most remembered for being at the helm amid the failed $39 billion bid, which collapsed late last year amid resistance from U.S. regulators. Under his leadership, T-Mobile has expanded its HSPA+ network and has focused on being a budget friendly wireless service for consumers looking for fast data speeds. However the company has lost millions of postpaid customers and has largely relied on prepaid subscribers for growth.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, in a letter to T-Mobile USA staff released Wednesday, Obermann said  Humm told the company in April that he would leave at the end of September. However, it appears Humm's departure was sped up after he told  Obermann "a few days ago" that he would be joining a competitor (now confirmed as Vodafone), the report said.

"The key thing for them is to reinvent their position: Where do they want to be in an LTE world?" Guy Peddy, an analyst at Macquarie Securities in London, told Bloomberg. For the incoming CEO, "it's an exciting time to get in and get that positioning right."

Alling previously served as an executive in various positions at Starbucks. He has been COO of T-Mobile since 2009.

Currently, T-Mobile offers an HSPA+42 network covering 184 million POPs in 185 markets, and its HSPA+21 network covers around 220 million POPs. The carrier advertises the network as "America's largest" that provides "4G" speeds. Indeed, independent tests have shown that T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 network offers download speeds of around 8 Mbps, similar to what Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) provides via its LTE network.

After the AT&T bid fell apart, Humm and T-Mobile refocused their strategy on deploying LTE next year. Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Nokia Siemens Networks are the vendors for T-Mobile's $4 billion network upgrade project. T-Mobile will use its AWS spectrum for LTE and will refarm is PCS 1900 MHz spectrum for HSPA+ services.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article

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