T-Mobile CEO on SpaceX Deal, Diversity & More from Seattle House Event Interview – GeekWire

Pallavi Mehta Wahi (left), Seattle managing partner of K&L Gates, interviews T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon at The Westin in downtown Seattle on Thursday. (Photo GeekWire / Taylor Soper)

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert was a featured speaker during a lunch Thursday hosted by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Sievert joined Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile in 2012 and became CEO in 2020, shortly after T-Mobile merged with Sprint. Here is a rundown of his comments.

On T-Mobile’s partnership with SpaceX to increase wireless coverage via SpaceX’s Starlink satellites

“It’s possibly one of the biggest pain points we’ve ever set out to address: dead zones,” said Sievert, who announced the deal last month with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Southern Texas.

The partnership provides for the creation of a new network, made up of Starlink satellites capable of using T-Mobile’s midband spectrum nationwide. The beta version of Starlink’s broadband upgrade will not begin rolling out in select areas until next year after a series of SpaceX satellite launches. The launch will begin with text messages, including SMS, MMS and messaging apps. Voice and data coverage will come later.

“We don’t know exactly how fast they will join. But our dream is that your existing smartphone, the one you already own, without the need for new technologies, will be able to connect to the Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth and you can receive real-time messages, emergency messages, messages. with images, real-time communication not only via SMS, but also via popular messaging apps, “Sievert said Thursday.” If all goes according to plan, we should be in full beta by the end of next year. “

GeekWire approached Sievert after his onstage interview and asked follow-up questions related to the SpaceX deal, but he declined to answer.

About the Seattle region and the business sector

Sievert is a member of Challenge Seattle, a coalition of high-level CEOs addressing regional issues including homelessness and educational inequalities. You said that legislators need to understand “the vital role of business in creating a vibrant economy”.

“There are a lot of politicians who are so obsessed with sharing the cake, they forget there has to be a cake,” he said. “And the role of the business is to make sure there is a cake. This means we have to invest and innovate and it has to happen here. “

On initiatives for diversity

T-Mobile last year launched a framework called Equity in Action for its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Sievert talked about how the company develops talent, describing it as a “double approach”.

“Even though we’re a large Seattle company, one thing I need to understand in this room is that most of our employees live and work in the redest counties of the redest states,” he said. “And so we had to develop a strategy that was true to our values, but also a strategy that would be successful in recruiting tens of thousands of people from every corner of this country.”

The strategy is focused on making sure that the company’s development and mentoring programs are overrepresented with women and minorities and that each open position includes pools of interviewers who represent diversity and candidates who represent an increase in diversity for the company.

And it focuses on hiring “the best person for the job, with no affirmative action or no input about their race or gender,” Sievert said.

“So it’s very interesting,” he said. “We only hire the best person every time, according to the hiring manager. … The fact that we have excessive representation in our development programs, the fact that we insist on different candidate pools, the fact that we insist on diversified interviews – allows us to do the latter with pride.

“This is a great service for people who walk into these positions and who manage to do their job knowing that no one wonders how they got that job. Nobody wonders if they got it because of their identity, just because of their effectiveness, performance, skills and experience. “

Editor’s Note: Holli Martinez, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at T-Mobile, will speak at the GeekWire Summit on October 20. 6 in Seattle.

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