Podcast: Tacos, Telcos & Trouble

T-Mobile is giving its customers a free taco every week. Should it also give them a roll of toilet paper? Also, and completely unrelated, what if Huawei does invent a must-have device for 5G networks – and we can't buy it in the US?

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

February 7, 2019

2 Min Read
Podcast: Tacos, Telcos & Trouble

Sometimes a taco is more than just a taco.

In the case of T-Mobile, a free taco offer (that we're all too keen to make fun of) is serious business. The company has built an affinity brand by being something other than what you'd normally expect from a phone company. Its latest giveaway with Taco Bell is part of a series of discounts, giveaways and special offers that T-Mobile customers enjoy just for being customers.

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In this week's podcast, Light Reading's Phil Harvey and Ray Le Maistre chew on the latest offers from T-Mobile, Verizon and Orange while discussing the broader theme of how traditional carriers can be -- and be perceived -- as something more than connectivity providers. When should a telco become a media company? Or a lifestyle brand? Or a bank? The answer depends on the company, but each company, as it changes and modernizes to keep up with competitors, should always be looking for places that it can disrupt others.

Light Reading's Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre asks: "If you're doing it -- if you're going through the process of digital transformation -- what opportunities does that open up to you, where you could actually be the company nipping in and being the digital challenger to legacy slow moving established companies?"

Later in the show, we ponder the unintended consequences of Huawei's troubles in the US. Could we someday miss out on innovation in the US and Europe because we were all too quick to demonize a world-beating Chinese rival in the telecom space? If you work in the telecom industry, you will have an opinion on this.

Related posts:

Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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