Light Reading

T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band

Dan Jones
3/10/2014
50%
50%

T-Mobile is poised to get its hands on 700MHz 4G spectrum from Verizon later this year that it says will enable it to offer better in-building, suburban, and rural coverage over time.

The 700MHz A-Band spectrum that T-Mobile US Inc. bought from Verizon Wireless for $2.4 billion this January was a main topic for executives from the carrier at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference Monday. (See T-Mobile Spends $2.4B on Verizon Spectrum .)

"We're very confident we'll close in Q2... So we can start offering service within the year," said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. " 'Fifteen will be a much larger year than 14 but we'll get started in 14."

The 700MHz A-Band spectrum will allow T-Mobile to improve in-building coverage in dense urban areas and add coverage in suburban fringe and rural areas more economically than it could with the AWS (1700/2100MHz) and PCS (1900MHz) spectrum it already holds. "It's not cost effective to build out in these vast geographies with high-band or medium-band," Ray said.

The spectrum covers 70% of T-Mobile's existing customer base and 158 million PoPs. This includes nine out of the top 10 markets and 21 of the top 30 markets, he said.

Just as he told Light Reading in January, Ray has initial markets in mind where the 700MHz service will start towards the end of the year. These include Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Minneapolis. (See T-Mobile CTO: On the Road to Low-Band.)

The CTO will also try and work around potential interference problems with Channel 51 TV broadcasters in affected areas, such as New York. For instance, Ray said, he can still deploy a network in parts of Long Island even if New York City is out for now and boost that prized "suburban fringe" coverage. (See T-Mobile: Channel-51 Interference a Non-Issue.)

The operator is also hoping to buy more A-Band and get potentially get more low-band 600MHz spectrum in the planned mid-2015 incentive auction from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) .

T-Mobile made it clear that it considers the auction a milestone for the wireless industry. "There needs to be adequate regulatory protections to ensure the duopolists do not come out with all the spectrum again," T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter told the conference crowd.

And just like the banana distribution industry, the CFO believes that three major competitors -- not four -- is the magic number for major mobile operators in the US. "It's not a question of if, it's a question of when," Braxton said when asked about the prospects for consolidation in the industry.

"To take a third-scale national player that has the scale benefits with the right business model could be very competitively enhancing," the CFO suggested. There has been talk of a T-Mobile-Sprint tie-up but the FCC appears to be downbeat about that combination. (See Tough Road Ahead for Sprint/T-Mobile?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2014 | 4:14:32 AM
Re : T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@ danielcawrey, advertising does play a much bigger role than the technical details of spectrums etc. Regarding your second point, different people have different preferences. Some people prefer speed over cost while others do the opposite. But there are considerable number of people who would like to sacrifice some speed in favor of cost.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 2:53:35 PM
Re : T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@ Dan, you are right, it seems logical. T-Mobile seems to have this understanding very clearly that they can't take on AT & T or Verizon alone. If they try to do so it will leave the equation like two big and two medium or small fish. They would rather like to be counted as third big fish even if it comes as a result of partnership with some other carrier.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/11/2014 | 1:35:56 PM
Re: "Yes, we have no bananas."
It's hard to believe that on the marketing side of things. Consumers don't care where the spectrum comes from. All they see is the advertising. T-Mobile has wowed more people in that way - also by being different.

You would also be surprised at the number of people who would take the reduced cost of T-Mobile over faster data. Not everyone will do that, but many will. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/11/2014 | 12:48:08 PM
T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@Sarah, I am thinking mobile markets.  To address your other post as well, I see T-Mobile as playing a "strategic" game in finding a specific niche that they think they can win at.  They will either win or lose - then maybe bananas.  If they really have a clear strategy and can pull it off, I think they can win.

DHagar
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:54:16 AM
Re: It's not about scale
True enough. Although T-Mobile didn't do so badly cutting deals w/ private providers for fiber backhaul once it got HSPA+ going...
spc_isdnip
50%
50%
spc_isdnip,
User Rank: Lightning
3/11/2014 | 11:51:52 AM
It's not about scale
T-Mobile and Sprint are disadvantaged because they don't own the backhaul wires; AT&T and VZ do, and scratch each others' backs to the disadvantage of the smaller players.  Nothing but regulated special access (writ large, revoking forbearance from Carrier Ethernet) pricing can fix that.

A 3-carrier market screws MVNOs badly.  The big two players sell direct.  Players 3 and 4 accept wholesale.  A 3-carrier market makes #3 bigger and less interested in wholesale, with no competition for it.  The market thus loses all of the innovation that comes from MVNOs.  Bad for consumers, though a modest ain for shareholders.  Of course we know who controls Washington.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:06:31 AM
Re: "Yes, we have no bananas."
I'm not convinced that T-Mobile expect a merger to happen any time soon. "Sooner or later" is proably the important element to Braxton's words.

They can *probably* afford to play a slightly longer game and see what happens when the next changing of the guard happens at the FCC.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:03:30 AM
Re: T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
hmm okay. Are you talking about the mobile market or banana market?
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:02:29 AM
Re: "Yes, we have no bananas."
T-Mobile has also always assumed it will be their brand that takes hold, not Sprint's, although that's probably fair given the success the Uncarrier strategy has had relative to Sprint's struggling band. But, is Sprint too big and well entrenched to be treated as a pile of spectrum, as T-Mo once said?
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 9:43:35 PM
T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@Dan, sounds like a smart move with a well thought-out business model.  Someone focused on filling the gaps and creating a good package designed for the right markets may just have the right combination.

DHagar
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
To keep up with consumers' increasing digital lifestyles, an IT system and operating model overhaul is required using a modern BSS, IES and analytics.
Hot Topics
FCC Plan Could Stymie Rural Broadband
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/3/2015
Eurobites: Nokia Seals HERE Sale
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 8/3/2015
Verizon Small Cells Ready to Rock in Chicago
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
I was pleasantly surprised when Ericsson recently agreed to let me interview its CEO, Hans Vestberg. Traditionally, mega-companies like Ericsson (or Cisco) have kept ...
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Cats with Phones