In this episode of Talks at GS, president and CEO of T-Mobile, Mike Sievert, discusses leading the mobile carrier through the pandemic amid an unprecedented surge of reliance on the network, his perspective on the future of 5G, and how to address the digital divide.
On navigating the pandemic: “I'm just so remarkably proud of this team. At some points in the pandemic, we had 80% of our thousands and thousands of stores closed. We had nearly 100% of our people working from home, taking care of 100 million customers—and the essential connections of their lives—from home. And obviously having to create the technology and capability to do that on the fly. And a year later, I'll tell you—it's hard. I think one of the things we're finding is that while the technology that has allowed us to run all these companies, to run the global economy over the last year, it's been great—it’s so much better than if this had happened to us a decade ago—but it's also not good enough. And it's one of the reasons I'm excited about 5G, because technology will come that's good enough.”
On the digital economy: “Today, if you're left out of the digital economy, you got a problem. And education, which is meant to be the great leveler in our society, education is what's supposed to be the thing that opens doors and gives us all opportunities. Education requires connectivity. So what happens when school kids aren't connected? And for us as a connections company, we try to focus our public work and our philanthropy around connections, because that's who we are and what we do. And so we came up with this idea last year called, Project 10Million. The idea was that we could position ourselves as the first company in the country, the first group—government, company, or otherwise—that could look at a piece of the digital divide problem and instead of chipping away at it, instead of helping towards it, we could declare that we might just have the wherewithal to end the problem—to solve it.”
The episode was recorded on April 22, 2021.