Light Reading
T-Mobile CTO expects AT&T 700MHz A-Band deal to close in Q2 and is planning ahead for spectrum expansion in 2014 through 2015.

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
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
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Microgenesis on Huawei's Switches

9|19|14   |   3:57   |   (0) comments


Microgenesis is a solutions and system integrator company in the Philippines whose areas of expertise include data centers, networking and security products. In this video, Executive Director Jeffrey Choa talks to us about his customers needs and they benefit from using Huawei switches.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (1) comment


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Mosaik Solutions presents its 2014 maps of the wireless world in the US, including cable WiFi deployments, LTE network expansion and 600MHz auction boundaries.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Photos: Qualcomm Takes Over San Francisco
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/19/2014
Exclusive: Microwave Maven Exalt Is Cooked
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2014
NFV & The Data Center: Top 10 Takeaways
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/18/2014
EMC Mulls Merger With HP or Dell – Reports
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2014
Gigabit Nets Boost GDP, Says FTTH Council
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed