& cplSiteName &

T-Mobile: Small Cells? We're Dense Already

Dan Jones
8/22/2014
50%
50%

Ever wonder why AT&T and Verizon are talking about small cells now, yet T-Mobile remains mostly quiet about its use of the tiny basestations that add network density and capacity to 4G LTE?

It all comes down to how the T-Mobile US Inc. network was originally deployed, according to recent comments from CFO Braxton Carter. T-Mobile started with mid-band spectrum -- namely the 2100/1700MHz AWS band -- rather than the 700MHz bands that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless started with.

Carter says that T-Mobile's network was "much more dense" from the buildout. "One macro [cell-site] of low band is equivalent to three mid-band sites, that's the rule of thumb," Carter said at a recent Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. conference. (See T-Mobile CFO Eyes Dish, Growth Opportunities.)

"Our ratio of megahertz [MHz] PoPs [points of presence] to subscribers is 1.7 to 1 and you look at AT&T and Verizon they have a ratio of 1 to 1, so, what that means is we have a lot more un-utilized spectrum that we can put to play," Carter said. "The reason AT&T and Verizon are having to densify to the extent that they are is that they don’t have the spectrum and the way they add capacity is by adding density."

Of course, T-Mobile, with just over 50 million subscribers, also has less than half the number of subscribers of AT&T and Verizon respectively.


Keep up with all the small cell news on our dedicated channel here on Light Reading.


Nonetheless, it is instructive to compare recent comments from the T-Mobile CFO and Verizon CFO. "The reason our capex will not decline is because in wireless you have to build out these small cells, these antenna systems and in-building coverage if you want to stay ahead of the capacity," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said in August. [Ed note: Jeez, is it a competition to find the CFO with the most off-beat name for wireless carriers?] (See Verizon Beefing Up Network for VoLTE, Multicast Video.)

While T-Mobile's Carter said that the operator already has some distributed antennas and small cells in place and the prospects for small cells are "interesting," but it is clear that the operator is more focused on improving coverage with its freshly acquired 700MHz low-band spectrum. (See T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band .)

The carrier has started to add 700MHz sites to its network and will "seed the market" with compatible handsets in the fourth quarter. Adding low-band will allow T-Mobile to improve coverage in many suburban and rural areas in the US.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(17)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/25/2014 | 10:53:55 AM
Re: Marketing
Possible, I'm sure users don't care to know if they have a small cell or DAS nearby.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/25/2014 | 9:49:18 AM
Re: Marketing
That probably is a good reason, no comment doesn't bring attention to T-Mobile. I'm wondering though, if all the carriers could go back in time would they have made the same decisions on which soectrum to choose to rely on. That might be an interesting "if we could do it again" question.
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/25/2014 | 8:49:04 AM
Marketing
I think the real reason T-Mobile has remained silent about small cells is that the others have made such a big deal about it that anything T-Mobile would say would just be "me, too" marketing, So T-Mobile is relying on other messaging.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/23/2014 | 12:19:24 AM
Re: Manifest density
The problem with introducing a new unsupported band is that even when you perform an upgrade, the user does  not experience any service improvement unlike the addition of a new cell site or a small cell. Perhaps TMOB should create a serious device exchange program for customers looking for new service, or a loaner to check out what your coverage will be like with the new band included.

Wi-Fi is a can of womrs due to the lack of any QoS capabilities, although I certainly understand why TMOB pushed it when it had no better answers. 

Another point on Wi-Fi. If I wanted to rely on Wi-Fi for calls I'd go with Republic and save a bundle.
milan03
50%
50%
milan03,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 11:52:45 PM
Re: Manifest density
Lack of low band spectrum is certianly a valid point, but with WiFi Calling integration in the next major iOS release they may actually be able to compete. Also 700MHz A block will come in handy for VoLTE traffic hopefully soon. 

At this point, it's up to them to aggressively seed the market with VoLTE/700a capable UE.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 11:45:58 PM
Re: Manifest density
I'm referring to the lack of investment overall, although the urban side has been getting real investment over the last few years with visible results. But the lack of low-band spectrum has always left them with poor indoor coverage, and as was highlighted over 80% of traffic is indoors.
milan03
50%
50%
milan03,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 11:28:10 PM
Re: Manifest density
@MordyK:

I'm assuming that the coverage you're talking about has to do with T-Mobile's lack of investment in the rural environment. That's absolutely true, and they're finally in the process of upgrading EDGE areas to LTE. Their goal is H2 2015, which is very optimistic but possible.

But since they've been investing mostly into urban areas up until recently, their network's cell density in top matkets is second to none as their cell sites have been spaced for PCS (and later AWS) spectrum since the early days. They were simply forced to deploy dense grid and now it's paying off as they're the only Tier 1 operator in position to deploy solid VoLTE (eSRVCC) experience across the entire LTE footprint. That paired with many years of experience providing WiFi Calling could be very valuable for overall consumer experience, but also for T-Mobile's netowrk efficiency.

So in NYC for instance they have 3-to-1 ratio in terms of the amount of macros when compared to Verizon/AT&T, and when you consider significantly lower subscriber base, that's an extremely compelling user experience! 
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 6:36:24 PM
Re: Manifest density
Dan, I thought that the reuse of their UMA infrastructure was part of it as well. seven
DanJones
100%
0%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/22/2014 | 5:10:06 PM
Re: Manifest density
Which is why they've been so big on WiFi Calling of course, so you get WiFi cover indoors.
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 5:05:10 PM
Re: Manifest density
I have T-Mobile and just use WiFi when I am indoors.  I have a Samsung Galaxy 3 and thus have WiFi calling.  So, I think indoors is not much of an issue nowadays.

seven

 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Jonestown
It's really hard to tell right now.
Doughnuts get the delivery drone treatment in Denver, because... of course they do.
The AT&T acquisition seems to suggest that Ma Bell will get deeper into fixed 5G services and more.
There's one important thing still up in the air about 5G.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
BBC Head: We Must Reinvent Broadcasting for a New Generation
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/21/2017
NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 7/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.